This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C3-01-7

 

Gold Nugget Development, Inc., et al.,

Appellants,

 

vs.

 

The City of Monticello, et al.,

Respondents.

 

Filed June 19, 2001

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded
Klaphake, Judge

 

Wright County District Court

File No. CX00445

 

Karen E. Marty, 3601 Minnesota Drive, Suite 880, Bloomington, MN  55435 (for appellants)

 

George C. Hoff, Paula A. Callies, Hoff, Barry & Kuderer, P.A., Suite 260, 7901 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie, MN  55344 (for respondents)

 

            Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

KLAPHAKE, Judge

In this dispute over enactment of a comprehensive land use plan, appellants Gold Nugget Development, Inc., Ocello, LLC, and E & K Development, LLC, challenge the district court’s grant of summary judgment to respondents City of Monticello and others.  The district court concluded that the joint planning board, which drew up the comprehensive plan, was properly created by the city and township, and that the board had followed statutory procedures in formulating an orderly annexation plan, thus denying appellants’ motion for a partial summary judgment on these issues.  The district court further ruled that the decision of the board designating appellants’ property for future industrial zoning was not arbitrary and capricious or an unlawful taking of appellants’ property, and that the city should not be equitably estopped from refusing to annex appellants’ property in accordance with the plan. 

            Because the joint planning board was formed in accordance with statutory procedures, we affirm on this issue.  However, because the board failed to give public notice prior to enactment of the comprehensive plan as required by statute, we reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment to respondents and its denial of summary judgment to appellants on this issue and hold, as a matter of law, that the comprehensive plan is invalid.  In light of this, we reverse the district court’s summary judgment on the issues of estoppel and taking, and remand these issues to the district court for further proceedings.

D E C I S I O N

            On an appeal from a summary judgment, we examine whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and whether the district court erred in its interpretation of the law.  Cummings v. Koehnen, 568 N.W.2d 418, 420 (Minn. 1997).  Where, as here, the parties do not dispute the facts, we review whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Fisher v. County of Rock, 596 N.W.2d 646, 651 (Minn. 1999). 

I.  Composition of Joint Planning Board

            Appellants allege a number of mistakes in the city and township joint resolution of March 5, 1998, which created the planning board.  Municipalities and townships are authorized to create joint boards to handle annexation issues.  Minn. Stat. § 414.0325, subd. 5 (1998).  Such a board is created by joint resolution under Minn. Stat. § 471.59, subds. 2-8.  Id.  Appellants argue that the March 5 joint resolution failed to address the requirements of Minn. Stat. § 471.59, subds. 2, 3, 5 (1998).

Minn. Stat. § 471.59, subd. 2, requires joint boards to be “representative of the parties to the agreement.”  Appellants urge that because one member is appointed by the county, a non-party to the agreement, the board is not representative. However, both the city and township are equally represented.  The term “representative” is not defined in the statute, but subdivision 6 of the same statute states that officeholders need not be residents of the governmental unit in which they hold office.  Minn. Stat. § 471.59, subd. 6.  This suggests that “representative” is to be broadly defined.

Minn. Stat. § 471.59, subds. 3 and 5 concern disbursement of funds and distribution of property.  No mention of these issues is contained in the joint resolution, but the board does not control fund disbursement or own property; rather, its expenses are paid on an equal basis by the city and township.  Under the doctrine of substantial compliance, technical defects of a minor nature, which do not undermine “the purpose of the procedures, or prejudice the rights of those intended to be protected by the procedures,” can be waived.  Manco of Fairmont, Inc. v. Town Bd. of Rock Dell Township, 583 N.W.2d 293, 295 (Minn. App. 1998) (quotation omitted), review denied (Oct. 20, 1998).  The district court did not err in granting summary judgment on this issue.

II.  Notice of Public Hearing

A joint planning board has the authority to create a comprehensive land use plan in an orderly annexation area.  Minn. Stat. § 414.0325, subd 5 (1998).  Before adoption of a comprehensive plan, the planning agency must hold at least one public hearing and publish a notice of “the time, place and purpose of the hearing * * * in the official newspaper of the municipality at least ten days before the day of the hearing.”  Minn. Stat. § 462.355, subd. 2 (1998). 

Appellants point out that the public hearings held in August and October 1998 precede the formulation of the plan that changed the tentative designation of their property from residential to industrial zoning.  The board’s decision adopting that portion of the comprehensive plan designating appellants’ property for future industrial zoning occurred at a meeting in May 1999, without the required statutory notice and public hearing.  The final adoption of the plan in July 1999 concerned only a portion of the plan, which did not include appellants’ property.  The notice for the public hearing held prior to the July vote on adopting the plan referenced only that portion of the plan and not appellants’ property.

            Notice requirements have been strictly construed in zoning and land use matters.  Glen Paul Court Neighborhood Ass’n. v. Paster, 437 N.W.2d 52, 56 (Minn. 1989).  “Administrative convenience does not outweigh the right of property owners to statutorily mandated due process.”  Id.  While minor defects in notice can be waived, notice that lacks indication of subject matter is insufficient.  Id. at 57; Pilgrim v. City of Winona, 256 N.W.2d 266, 270 (Minn. 1977).  In this matter, appellants were given no opportunity for a public hearing after a change in the proposed designation of their property.  In the absence of substantial compliance with notice and public hearing requirements, the adoption of the comprehensive plan is “invalid and a nullity.”  Glen Paul Court, 437 N.W.2d at 57.  The district court erred in granting summary judgment on this issue.

            In light of our holding that the comprehensive plan is invalid, the district court’s summary judgment on the remaining issues involving equitable estoppel and taking are premature.  We remand these issues to the district court.

            Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.