This opinion will be unpublished and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
Hans Kranz, et al.,
Filed September 6, 2005
Hubbard County District Court
File No. C8-02-538
Jeffrey D. Pederson, Hansen & Pederson, P.A., 24 Southwest Colfax Avenue, P. O. Box 623, Wadena, MN 56482 (for appellants)
J.J. Cline, Svingen, Hagstrom, Karkela, Cline & Dirks, PLLP, 125 South Mill Street, P. O. Box 697, Fergus Falls, MN 56537-0697 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Wright, Judge; and Worke, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal from summary judgment in this cartway dispute, appellants argue that (a) a fact issue exists regarding the necessity of a cartway over their land because the property is accessible by a navigable waterway; (b) the district court incorrectly applied the 2004 amendment to the cartway statute retroactively; (c) a fact issue exists regarding the proper location of any cartway; (d) the established cartway was not located with sufficient specificity; (e) they received inadequate notice of the cartway proceedings; and (f) they are entitled to a jury trial on damages for a cartway over their land. Because the district court properly granted the board’s motion for summary judgment, we affirm.
Appellants Hans and Shirley Kranz own
a 110-acre parcel and lake home located in
On October 1, 2001, the board conducted a public hearing to consider the amended petition. Appellants attended this hearing, during which they were advised that petitioners’ property would be subdivided into residential lots. The board decided to examine alternative access routes in addition to the petitioned-for access route and to investigate the impact of a cartway on surrounding wetlands. The hearing was adjourned until November 5, 2001.
On October 22, the board held a work session to discuss alternative routes, including a route over appellants’ land, and a cartway’s impact on the environment. Notice of the work session was printed in the local newspaper, and appellants were sent notice on October 9; however, the notice was returned on October 15 with a “no such address” notation. Appellants argue that they only received a two-day notice of the work session by phone; however, the board submitted an affidavit from an employee who stated that she called and spoke with Shirley Kranz on October 15 when the notice was returned. Appellants did not attend the work session because of a scheduling conflict. Appellants did attend the November 5 public hearing, during which the board voted to establish a cartway over appellants’ property. After the board and appellants had appraisals conducted, the board adopted its resolution and order for damages in the amount of $24,000. The board’s appraiser valued the damages at approximately $15,000; appellants’ appraiser valued the damages at $72,000.
On July 23, 2002, appellants appealed the cartway resolution and the order for damages to the Hubbard County District Court. Thereafter, the board moved for summary judgment. On October 16, 2003, the district court remanded the matter to the board to consider whether petitioners’ property is accessible via a navigable waterway in light of the supreme court decision, In re the Matter of Daniel, 656 N.W.2d 543 (Minn. 2003). Following a public hearing, the board concluded that petitioners do not have access to their property via a navigable waterway. On October 15, 2004, the district court granted the board’s motion for summary judgment on all issues.
D E C I S I O N
“When reviewing a trial court’s grant
of summary judgment, this court determines (1) whether there are any genuine
issues of material fact; and (2) whether the lower court erred in its
application of the law.” Offerdahl v.
No genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether petitioners have access to their property via a navigable waterway
After appellants appealed the board’s decision to establish a cartway over their property to the district court, the district court remanded the matter to the board to consider whether petitioners’ property is accessible via a navigable waterway in light of the supreme court’s decision in In re the Matter of Daniel, 656 N.W.2d 543 (Minn. 2003). The board concluded that petitioners’ property is not accessible via a navigable waterway, and based on that conclusion, the district court granted the board’s motion for summary judgment.
In Daniel, the owner of lakefront property was granted a cartway over
a neighbor’s land.
Unlike Daniel, the district court here correctly determined that petitioners
do not have access to their property via a navigable waterway. Factors that the supreme court found
determinative in Daniel do not exist
here. In Daniel,the supreme court
The district court did not rely on the 2004 amendment of the cartway statute in making its decision
Appellants argue that the district court erroneously relied on the revised statutory language that “[a] town board shall establish a cartway upon a petition by an owner of a tract of land that . . . has no access thereto except over a navigable waterway or over the lands of others.” Minn. Stat. § 164.08, subd. 2(a) (2004). The statutory language “over a navigable waterway [or]” is additional text effective July 1, 2004, and was not in the statute when the board made its initial determination that petitioners require a cartway to access their land. The district court, however, did not rely on this language, but rather relied on the board’s findings after the matter was remanded in light of Daniel. Because the district court properly relied on the board’s findings that petitioners’ land is not accessible via a navigable waterway, and not on the amended language in the statute, it did not err in applying the law and granting the board’s motion for summary judgment.
No genuine issue of material fact exists regarding the location of any cartway
A town board
acting on a petition for the establishment of a cartway acts in a legislative
capacity and the district court will not reverse the board’s decision on appeal
unless (1) the evidence is practically conclusive against the decision, (2) an
erroneous theory of the law was applied, or (3) the board acted arbitrarily and
capriciously, contrary to the public’s best interest. Rask v. Town Bd. of Hendrum, 173
The board conducted several hearings to determine the appropriate location for the cartway and thoroughly examined three alternatives. Under Minn. Stat. § 164.08, subd. 2, “[t]he town board may select an alternative route other than that petitioned for if the alternative is deemed by the town board to be less disruptive and damaging to the affected landowners and in the public’s best interest.” While each alternative had advantages and disadvantages, the board determined that a cartway over appellants’ property is the best option. The board concluded that option one, petitioners’ proposed route, would severely disrupt and damage affected landowners, have considerable negative impact on the environment, and create safety hazards for motorists. The board concluded that option two was not cost-effective because it included acquiring additional lakeshore property, required substantial road improvements, and required the construction of a bridge. Additionally, option two had an adverse affect on wetlands and required that an extensive amount of timber be taken. The board determined that option three, the access route over appellants’ property, is best because it intersects logging trails with minimal tree growth, is the most cost-effective, does not require any wetland mitigation, and is the safest route for motorists. The district court properly granted the board’s motion for summary judgment because no question of fact exists regarding the location of the cartway.
The cartway established by these proceedings is located with sufficient specificity
reviews questions of statutory construction de novo. Am. Family Ins.
Group v. Schroedl,616
N.W.2d 273, 277 (
Appellants argue that the district court erred in its application of the law because the cartway was not located with sufficient specificity. Under Minn. Stat. § 164.07, subd. 4 (2004), “if the petition be granted, the town board, if it deem it necessary, shall cause a survey to be made . . . and a description of the road so established, altered, or vacated shall be incorporated in an order to be signed by the town board.” Appellants claim that while the board caused a survey to be made for appraising damages, it did not incorporate the description of the cartway into a signed order. Appellants argue, therefore, that the failure to describe the location of the cartway in a signed order is defective and void. Appellants’ argument is wrong for two reasons. First, the board is not required to incorporate a survey into an order signed by the board. Under the statute, a survey needs to be conducted only if “the board deem[s] it necessary.” Minn. Stat. § 164.07, subd. 4. Moreover, the board provides a sufficient description of the cartway in its December 10, 2001 resolution. Thus, the district court properly granted the board’s motion for summary judgment.
Appellants received adequate notice of the cartway proceedings
Appellants contend that they were
deprived of their property without due process of law. This court reviews procedural due-process claims de novo. Zellman
ex rel. M.Z. v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 2758, 594 N.W.2d 216, 220 (Minn. App. 1999), review denied
(Minn. July 28, 1999). The guarantees of
due process are the same under both the federal and state constitutions. Sartori v. Harnischfeger Corp., 432 N.W.2d 448, 453 (
Under Minn. Stat. § 164.07, subd. 2(a) (2004), after a petition is filed, the board shall fix a time and place where it will meet and act upon the petition, and “[t]he petitioners shall cause personal service of such order and a copy of the petition to be made upon each occupant of such land at least ten days before such meeting and cause ten days’ posted notice thereof to be given.” Appellants received notice of the October 1, 2001 hearing and attended. Appellants did not attend the October 22 meeting, but this was deemed a board work session. Appellants did receive notice of the work session; however, it occurred after the written notice sent to their listed address was returned. While appellants did not attend the work session, the board merely discussed alternative routes and did not make any decisions. Appellants were present at the November 5 hearing where the board further examined alternatives and voted to establish a cartway over appellants’ property.
Appellants claim that they did not receive adequate notice for the October 22 work session, but they do not present any evidence to support a claim that they were denied a full and fair determination of their rights. Accordingly, appellants have not demonstrated that their due-process rights were violated and the district court appropriately granted summary judgment in favor of the board.
Appellants are not entitled to a jury trial on damages
Appellants argue that they are entitled to a jury trial on damages. However, in October 2003, the parties’ counsel stipulated to remanding the matter to the board, and the district court retained jurisdiction and suspended proceedings pending the board’s findings. After the board determined that petitioners’ property is not accessible via a navigable waterway, the district court granted the board’s motion for summary judgment, which included a decision that damages were appropriate.
stated, a decision by a town board acting in a legislative capacity is final,
and will be set aside by the district court only when (1) the evidence is practically
conclusive against it, or (2) the board proceeded on an erroneous theory of
law, or (3) the board acted arbitrarily and capriciously, contrary to the
public’s best interests. Rask, 173