may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
City of Sartell, petitioner,
George H. Lahr, et al.,
Sartell Golf Club, Inc., et al.,
Filed September 9, 1997
Stearns County District Court
File No. C3-96-1257
Roger D. Neils, Neils, Franz & Chirhart, P.A., 1011 North Second Street, P.O. Box 307 St. Cloud, MN 56302 (for appellants)
Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Norton, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
Appellants, owners of property adjacent to Pine Cone Road, challenge the district court's determination that the City of Sartell had a 66-foot-wide easement along the road. We affirm.
The district court found that: (1) the public has used the road as a means of travel for a minimum of six years; (2) the city and, formerly, Le Sauk Township have performed maintenance, improvements, and support of the road at the public's expense; and (3) the road extends to 33 feet from the centerline because of yardage needed to maintain the traveled portion of the road. Appellants argue that the district court's finding that the road extended 33 feet from the centerline was clearly erroneous.
Minnesota law dictates:
When any road or portion of a road has been used and kept in repair and worked for at least six years continuously as a public highway by a road authority, it shall be deemed dedicated to the public to the width of the actual use and be and remain, until lawfully vacated, a public highway whether it has ever been established as a public highway or not.
Minn. Stat. § 160.05, subd. 1 (1996). The supreme court has clarified Minn. Stat. § 160.05, stating:
The width of the prescriptive easement * * * is not limited to that portion of the road actually traveled; it may include the shoulders and ditches that are needed and have actually been used to support and maintain the traveled portion.
Barfnecht, 304 Minn. at 509, 232 N.W.2d at 423. The district court specifically found that the road's ditch in-slopes, fill slopes, ditch bottoms, ditch back-slopes, and water-runoff area were part of the road because they supported the safe use of the road's traveled portion. This finding is supported by the extensive testimony of city engineer Sidney Williamson. Williamson testified at length regarding the various dimensions of the road, including the ditch and slope areas to the sides of the road. At one point he spoke in layperson's terms, saying:
[A] rural section of roadway is designed to accommodate the traffic at the surface, but the surface is only part of * * * the roadway itself. * * * [T]here's much more to that mountain than the peak. Well, there's much more to * * * a street or road section than the surface.
The district court's finding that the road extended to 33 feet from the centerline was not clearly erroneous.