This opinion will be unpublished and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 May 16, 2006
Olmsted County District Court
File No. C4-05-1052
Kenneth R. Moen, Moen Law Firm, 202 Riverside Building, 400 South
George C. Hoff, Justin L. Templin, Hoff, Barry & Kuderer, P.A., 160 Flagship Corporate Center, 775 Prairie Center Drive, , Eden Prairie, MN 55344; and
Terry Adkins, Rochester City Attorney, 201 Fourth Street SE, Room 247, Rochester, MN 55904 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Dietzen, 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 in this plat dispute, appellants argue that (a) respondent’s denial of appellants’ final plat application was arbitrary and capricious when appellants satisfied all requirements for plat approval, and (b) it is unlawful for respondent, as a mandatory component of a development agreement, to require appellants to pay a traffic- improvement charge. We affirm.
2003, appellants Pebble Creek Rochester,
LLC and Charles O. DeWitz applied for approval to develop approximately 390 acres
In early 2005, respondent conducted public hearings to determine whether the conditions for approval had been satisfied to allow appellants to proceed with development. Discussions revealed that appellants had not satisfied conditions of approval for the preliminary plat—specifically, execution of a development agreement. Discussions then turned to transportation improvements needed to support the development. Appellants suggested that a traffic report indicated that no capacity changes would occur with the development of 16.20 acres and that they should not incur a Traffic Improvement District (TID) charge. A TID is a designated geographic area with substandard streets that require improvement or replacement with new development; developers receive information on improvement costs and the manner in which the city shares the costs. Appellants argued that they would not agree until they were offered a fair and equitable cost share.
Respondent determined that appellants had not satisfied the conditions of approval for the final plat and could not proceed with development. Respondent found that the final plat needed to satisfy the conditions of approval for the preliminary plat. Respondent stated that the “Final Plat [was approved] provided ‘no development will occur . . . and no further development permit will be issued until [respondent] determines public facilities are adequate to accommodate this development.’” Appellants filed a complaint in district court. The district court granted respondent’s motion for summary judgment, and this appeal follows.
D E C I S I O N
appeal from a summary judgment, this court examines the record to determine
whether any genuine issues of material fact exist and whether the district
court erred in applying the law. State by Cooper v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2,
disagree on this court’s review of respondent’s decision, and neither party’s
suggested standard of review is precisely on point. Appellants suggest that we must determine
whether respondent’s decision is unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious, citing
Hurrle v. County of Sherburne ex rel. Bd.
of Comm’rs, 594 N.W.2d 246, 249 (Minn. App. 1999). But the issue in Hurrle regarded the denial of a preliminary plat application, and
here we must decide if respondent was justified in denying appellants
permission to proceed with development of a conditionally approved final plat. Respondent suggests that we use a
rational-basis standard of review, citing Honn v.
City of Coon Rapids, 313
N.W.2d 409, 414-15 (
that respondent’s refusal to acknowledge appellants’ compliance with the
provisions of the approved final plat is arbitrary and capricious. Municipalities may adopt regulations
governing the development of subdivisions.
‘Preliminary approval’ means official action taken by a municipality on an application to create a subdivision which establishes the rights and obligations set forth in section 462.358 and the applicable subdivision regulation. In accordance with section 462.358, and unless otherwise specified in the applicable subdivision regulation, preliminary approval may be granted only following the review and approval of a preliminary plat or other map or drawing establishing without limitation the number, layout, and location of lots, tracts, blocks, and parcels to be created, location of streets, roads, utilities and facilities, park and drainage facilities, and lands to be dedicated for public use.
Minn. Stat. § 462.352, subd. 16
(2004). Preliminary approval “is intended
to be comprehensive and, in fact, is the most important step in
obtaining approval of the subdivision.” Semler Const., Inc. v. City of Hanover,
667 N.W.2d 457, 461 (Minn. App. 2003), review
After the city grants approval of a preliminary plat, the applicant may seek final approval.
Following preliminary approval the applicant may request final approval by the municipality, and upon such request the municipality shall certify final approval within 60 days if the applicant has complied with all conditions and requirements of applicable regulations and all conditions and requirements upon which the preliminary approval is expressly conditioned either through performance or the execution of appropriate agreements assuring performance.
Minn. Stat. § 462.358, subd. 3b. “[T]he statute places primary emphasis on the preliminary plat approval; once the conditions and requirements therein are satisfied, the plat mechanically receives final approval.” Semler,667 N.W.2d at 463.
Here, final-plat approval required satisfaction of the conditions of approval for the preliminary plat, and preliminary-plat approval required satisfaction of the conditions of approval for Pebble Creek. Appellants were required to have or obtain adequate public facilities and to execute a development agreement. Respondent found that one condition of approval involved “inadequate public facilities for the 53-acre parcel covered by the Pebble Creek Preliminary Plat” and that “[t]he need for adequate public facilities is not restricted just to the 16-acre parcel covered by the Final Plat application. . . . [Appellants have] not shown that the current public facilities for the 53-acre parcel are adequate[.]” As stated in Semler, preliminary approval “is intended to be comprehensive and, in fact, is the most important step in obtaining approval[.]” Semler, 667 N.W.2d at 461. Appellants did not satisfy the conditions of approval for the preliminary plat or the conditions of approval for the final plat. Thus, respondent’s decision to deny appellants permission to proceed with development was not unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.
Appellants argue that statutes, ordinances, and caselaw
regarding requirements of plat approval are irrelevant because respondent approved
the final plat. But the preliminary plat
and the final plat were conditionally approved.
Minn. Stat. § 462.358, subd. 3b, provides that the final plat shall
be approved if “the applicant has complied with all conditions . . . upon which
the preliminary approval is expressly conditioned[.]” Statutory construction is a question of law,
which this court reviews de novo.
Appellants next argue that they do not have to show adequate public facilities for 53.47 acres because they opted to proceed with an alternative that permitted appellants to work jointly with the city to make facilities adequate. This required appellants to enter into a development agreement. Respondent addressed appellants’ failure to enter into a development agreement, stating that “[Appellants] publicly indicated  willingness to enter into required and voluntary development agreements with the city. To date, it has not done so.” Thus, although appellants elected to proceed with an alternative, appellants failed to satisfy the requirements of that alternative. Respondent correctly interpreted and applied the relevant statutes and city ordinances in denying appellants’ request to proceed with development. Because appellants have failed to comply with the conditions of approval that they agreed to, we do not need to reach the TID issue.
 Ultimately, the standard of review we use will not affect the decision in this matter.