This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Filed April 1, 2003
Ramsey County District Court
File No. T802602505
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55102; and
Thomas R. Hughes, Hughes & Costello, 1230 Landmark Towers, 345 St. Peter Street, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Michael J. Pisansky, 350 Oakwood Drive, Unit #1, New Brighton, MN 55112 (pro se appellant)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.
G. BARRY ANDERSON, Judge
Appellant challenges his conviction of violating a city ordinance prohibiting parking in a designated fire lane. Appellant argues that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague and that the evidence admitted at trial was insufficient to support his conviction. Because we hold that evidence that appellant blocked access to a fire lane is insufficient to support a conviction for parking in a designated fire lane under this particular city ordinance, we reverse.
On December 22, 2001, pro se appellant Michael J. Pisansky parked his vehicle, a 1998 Chevrolet Venture van, near his condominium complex in New Brighton while he retrieved some items from his home. Appellant parked the vehicle in the western condominium parking lot, to the east of an area that was marked in yellow as a fire lane. Appellant’s vehicle was on a concrete sidewalk near the condominium garages. No part of appellant’s vehicle was in the area designated as a fire lane.
New Brighton Public Safety Officer Joseph Beissel, responding to a condominium resident’s complaint, ticketed appellant for violating New Brighton City Ordinance § 9-41, which prohibits parking in a fire lane. At trial, Beissel testified that the entire parking lot to the west of the condominium complex is marked with signs as a fire lane. In addition, Beissel testified that although appellant’s vehicle was not physically in the fire lane, the placement of the van on the sidewalk would prevent fire trucks from reaching the northwest portion of the complex. Although Beissel conceded that no signs prohibit parking on the sidewalk, he concluded that appellant was blocking the fire lane because appellant’s vehicle would either limit or prohibit access for emergency vehicles. The district court convicted appellant of a petty-misdemeanor parking violation, and this appeal followed.
The issue presented here is the construction of New Brighton City Ordinance § 9-41 and whether the district court’s findings support appellant’s conviction. Because appellant does not allege that the district court erred in its findings of fact, the only issue presented to this panel is whether the ordinance and resolution prohibit appellant’s conduct.
New Brighton City Ordinance § 9-41, in pertinent part, states:
(a) Establishment: Where it is determined by the city council * * * that access to buildings in the city by the fire department equipment over public and/or private roads can only be maintained by prohibiting vehicle parking on one or both sides of such public and/or private roads, then such public and/or private roads, or parts thereof, shall, by resolution of the city council, be established and designated as fire lanes. In such resolution, it shall be stated where vehicle parking shall be prohibited.