This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed July 12, 2005
Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 4030597937
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Martin J. Costello, Russell J. Platzek, Katrina E. Joseph, Hughes & Costello, 1230 Landmark Towers, 345 St. Paul Street, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Bruce A. Olander, 111 South Broadway, Jordan, MN 55252 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Shumaker, Judge; and Crippen, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
GORDON W. SHUMAKER, Judge
Appellant challenges his conviction of the offense of parking a vehicle in a residential yard, in violation of a city ordinance. He argues that the ordinance he was convicted under is unconstitutional because: (1) the city lacks authority to prohibit this use of his property; (2) the ordinance lacks a rational basis; (3) the ordinance violates art. IV, section 17 of the Minnesota Constitution; and (4) the ordinance is impermissibly vague under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Additionally, appellant argues that his truck had been modified for camping purposes so as to constitute a recreational vehicle, which is exempt from the prohibition. Finally, he argues there was insufficient evidence to prove his truck was over the weight limit specified in the ordinance and that it was not a “recreational vehicle.” We affirm.
January 22, 2003, the City of
After appellant’s three EHVNs, the Richfield Public Safety Department began issuing Notices of Non-Compliance. Appellant received three additional Notices of Non-Compliance. Each notice stated what the violation was for and when the next inspection would take place. Each notice stated that “If the items have not been completed, a formal complaint will be submitted to the City Attorney or a citation will be issued.” Each notice included a phone number for the Environmental Health Division to address any questions about the notice or violation. Appellant did not remedy the situation and was given a formal citation on October 23, 2003.
October 23 and 31, 2003,
the City of
D E C I S I O N
1. Constitutionality of
Appellant argues that the ordinance
he was convicted under is unconstitutional.
The constitutionality of an ordinance is a question of law, which this
court reviews de novo. Hard Times Café, Inc. v. City of
The ordinance appellant was convicted under states that,
[n]o person may park or place any motor vehicle in the yard area of any lot within the city, except in established driveway areas as and parking areas permitted by this code; and locations where the parking and storage of recreational vehicles and equipment is permitted by this city zoning code.
Richfield City Code, section 1305.27, subd. 5.
Here, appellant claims that Richfield City Ordinance 1305.27, subd. 5, is unconstitutional because (a) Richfield does not have the authority to regulate parking on private property; (b) the ordinance is not rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose; (c) the ordinance violates art. IV, section 17, of the Minnesota Constitution; and (d) the ordinance violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution.
Appellant argues that the City of
to provide for the government and good order of the city, the suppression of vice and immorality, the prevention of crime, the protection of public and private property, the benefit of residence, trade, and commerce, and the promotion of health, safety, order, convenience, and the general welfare by such ordinances not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States or of this state as it shall deem expedient.
Minn. Stat. § 412.221, subd. 32
(2004). Additionally, city councils have
the power to define nuisances and provide for their prevention by
ordinance. Minn. Stat. § 421.221,
subd. 23 (2004). And regulation of
parking is within the municipality’s police powers. State
v. Hyland, 431 N.W.2d 868, 872 (
claims that the only areas in which
b. Rational relationship to a legitimate government purpose
argues that no rational relationship exists between
advances one argument in support of this claim.
He suggests that this ordinance cannot be rationally related to a
legitimate governmental purpose because it “does not provide any guidance
regarding parking on private residential lots which would insure the health
safety and morals of the citizens of
violating art. IV, section 17, of the
Appellant argues that Richfield City Ordinance section 1305.27 violates art. IV, section 17, of the Minnesota Constitution, which states that “no law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.” A municipal city ordinance is presumed constitutional. Thul, 657 N.W.2d at 617.
Appellant cites no authority to support his proposition that this portion of the Minnesota Constitution applies to a municipality’s ordinances. The “one subject limit” is a constitutional limit on the Minnesota State Legislature and does not apply to a municipal ordinance. Therefore, appellant’s claim that this ordinance is invalid based on art. IV, section 17, of the Minnesota Constitution is without merit.
d. Ordinance violating Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution
Appellant argues that he did not
know which ordinance applied, that the exception to the ordinance for
recreational vehicles is unclear, and he thought his truck qualified as a
recreational vehicle. Appellant begins
his argument by referring to
further argues that the ordinance is vague and confusing because of the
recreational-vehicles exception. The
recreational-vehicles exception includes “slip-on campers” that are mounted
into a pick-up truck.
2. Sufficient Evidence to Convict Appellant
Appellant’s final claim is that there was insufficient evidence to
support the district court’s findings and his conviction. In
reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, a reviewing court
must determine whether the evidence on record, when viewed in a light most
favorable to the conviction, was sufficient to permit the fact-finder to reach
the verdict it did. State v. Harris,
589 N.W.2d 782, 791 (
Appellant argues that there is no evidence to sustain the findings of the district court. Specifically, appellant suggests that there is no evidence that his truck is not a recreational vehicle. He argues that his vehicle should qualify as a recreational vehicle under the exception because it has “storage shelves, carpeting, and curtained and louvered windows.” Additionally, he points to his testimony that he kept sleeping bags and a lantern in the back of the truck. The Richfield City Ordinance prohibits parking any motor vehicle in the yard area of any lot within the city, except in established driveway areas and parking areas permitted by the code. § 1305.27, subd. 5.
The evidence in the record indicates that a pick-up truck, registered to appellant, was parked in the yard area of his home; that he was given numerous warnings to cure the situation, and that on October 23, 2003, the vehicle was still parked in the yard. The district court found that the topper on appellant’s truck was not intended to be used for living quarters, and, thus, it did not fall into the exception for recreational vehicles. Additionally, the mere fact that appellant chooses to keep sleeping bags in the truck does not automatically convert it into a recreational vehicle. Therefore, sufficient evidence existed to permit the district court to convict appellant of parking his vehicle in his yard in violation of Richfield City Ordinance 1305.27, subd. 5.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
The October 31, 2003 violation was
dismissed because the community-service officer who issued the citation was no
longer employed by the City of