This opinion will be unpublished and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
Sherburne Land Investment Company, L.L.C.,
Filed June 13, 2006
Sherburne County Board of Commissioners
Steven J. Lodge, Stacy L. Novak, Nash & Lodge, P.L.L.P., 2705 Bunker Lake Boulevard Northwest, Suite 107, Andover, MN 55304 (for relator)
Kathleen A. Heaney,
Jay T. Squires, Kimberley K. Sobieck, Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A., 300 U.S. Trust Building, 730 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Collins, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Relator challenges as arbitrary, capricious, and legally insufficient respondent’s denial of relator’s preliminary-plat application. Because the denial of the plat application as proposed was reasonable and legally sound, we affirm.
On February 10,
2005, relator Sherburne Land Investment Company, L.L.C., applied to
March 1, a Mn/DOT senior planner responded that because the long-range plans
for the relevant segment of U.S. 10 called for elimination of direct access
between the subject property and the highway, future access would need to be by
On April 12, Claudia Dumont, another Mn/DOT senior transportation planner, wrote the first of three letters concerning the plat to the county planner. In it, Dumont incorporated the comments made in the Mn/DOT March 1 letter, observed that plans for improvement of U.S. 10 might affect the plat, and stated, with respect to the access between the property and U.S. 10, that “[t]he plat should be revised to show access control, and language dedicating access control should be added.”
the next letter, dated May 10, Dumont identified “several important safety
issues relating to the highway access for the development:” (1) that the proposed access provides
substandard sight distances for drivers leaving the development and turning
left onto U.S. 10, meaning that they would have to enter upon a traffic lane without
being able to see for a sufficient distance whether there are vehicles
approaching from the right traveling in the same lane; (2) that right-turning
vehicles leaving the development would immediately be accelerating up a four percent
grade in a traffic lane on U.S. 10; (3) that the right- and left-turn lanes on
U.S. 10 for vehicles entering the property are of substandard length; and (4)
that the proposed access deficiencies are the same as those of a nearby
intersection that Mn/DOT had recently caused to be closed.
her third letter, dated May 18,
After meeting on April 21 and May 19 and discussing the plat application without reaching a vote, the county zoning and planning commission met on June 16 and voted to recommend approval of the plat subject to conditions that the existing access was temporary and would be reconstructed to overcome the stated safety concerns.
When reviewing a
county board’s decision on a writ of certiorari, our “inquiry is limited to
questioning whether the board had jurisdiction, whether the proceedings were
fair and regular, and whether the board’s decision was unreasonable,
oppressive, arbitrary, fraudulent, without evidentiary support, or based on an
incorrect theory of law.” Radke v.
When reviewing a
municipality’s zoning decision, we must determine if there is a rational basis
for the decision; we may not substitute our judgment if there is a legally
sufficient reason for the decision, even if we would have reached a different
conclusion. St. Croix Dev., Inc. v. City of Apple Valley, 446 N.W.2d 392, 398
(Minn. App. 1989), review denied
(Minn. Dec. 1, 1989). A legally
sufficient reason is one “reasonably related to the promotion of the public
health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community.”
When a preliminary plat meets the municipality’s zoning and subdivision-ordinance provisions, it is arbitrary for the city to deny the plat application based on the county’s comprehensive plan. See id. at 575 (observing that the provisions of the comprehensive plan are intended to be general in nature and are thus legally insufficient as a basis for denying preliminary-plat approval).
Here, the county ordinance provides:
Whenever the proposed
subdivision contains or is adjacent to a State or
argues that the Board, in reaching its decision, unreasonably relied on Mn/DOT’s
expressed traffic-safety concerns without considering Mn/DOT’s recommendations
intended to address those concerns.
While acknowledging that the Board may properly rely on Mn/DOT’s safety
concerns in making land-use decisions, relator nevertheless contends that Mn/DOT
“did not assert a safety-based objection to the development, but merely
expressed safety-related concerns that would be adequately resolved with its
recommended improvements.” We disagree
with relator’s characterization of the Mn/DOT position.
We conclude that the Board reasonably denied relator’s plat application because of its failure to comport with the county subdivision ordinance and for traffic-safety concerns.
The Board also viewed the proposed plat to be inconsistent with the county’s comprehensive land-use plan, which provides:
New development and operations within the Business and Industry category shall be required to ensure safe access to their business site through the placement of site access(es) in accordance with the Township and/or County Transportation Plan and through the construction of turn lanes, bypass lanes, and street lighting when necessary as determined by the respective road authority.
Relator argues that Mn/DOT’s recommendations concerning safe access resolve any discrepancy between the comprehensive plan and the proposal, but relator does not show that the recommendations were incorporated into the proposal as submitted. The Board did not act unreasonably by rejecting the plat as being inconsistent with the comprehensive land-use plan’s goals and policies for safe access to existing infrastructure.
Board’s final basis for declining approval of the application related to the
recent closing of a similar intersection in
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.