Minn. Stat. §480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
City of Maplewood,
Ramsey County District Court
File No. C6-96-10669
Patrick J. Kelly, Bannigan & Kelly, P.A., 1750 North Central Life Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Norton, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.[*]
Appellant Maplewood Development wanted to subdivide property in Maplewood for single family homes. Respondent City of Maplewood required the developer to dedicate to the city a portion of the subdivision for storm water drainage. The developer sought a peremptory writ of mandamus challenging the city's dedication requirement. Before the challenge was resolved, however, the developer recorded a final plat that included the city's storm water drainage dedication. The city then moved for and was granted summary judgment and the developer's action was dismissed. The developer appeals. We affirm.
This case is controlled by Crystal Green v. City of Crystal, 421 N.W.2d 393 (Minn. App. 1988), review denied (Minn. May 25, 1988). Crystal Green was required, as part of the governmental approval process, to dedicate part of its parcel to the city for future use as a frontage road. Id. at 393. Crystal Green objected at public hearings, but agreed to dedicate the land "under protest." Id. at 394. The plat, with the required dedication, was then filed with the registrar of deeds. Id. Crystal Green then applied for a writ of mandamus to require the city to initiate condemnation proceedings for the alleged taking of the dedicated property. Id. In deciding against Crystal Green, this court held that
[d]evelopers must challenge dedications prior to final plat approval and registration in order to assure finality of dedication, give municipalities an opportunity to change their requirements if the requirements are unreasonable, and prevent municipalities from being sued by developers when the only remedy available to a losing municipality is payment.
Id. at 395; see also County of Hennepin v. Begin, 443 N.W.2d 860, 863 (Minn. App. 1989) (holding dedication of land was effective when final plat was filed). Crystal Green's reasoning equally applies to this case.
In both cases, the developers were aware of the cities' dedication conditions, but nevertheless went forward with their plans and eventually recorded the final plats that included the dedications. The Crystal Green court, in rejecting the developer's after-the-fact challenge, relied on case law that recognizes that once a dedication is recorded, it is irrevocable. Crystal Green, 421 N.W.2d at 395 (citing Bartlett v. Stalker Lake Sportsmen's Club, 283 Minn. 393, 397, 168 N.W.2d 356, 358-59 (1969)). Anyone who wants to challenge a dedication must do so before recording a plat with that dedication.
In this case, the developer started to challenge the dedication when it filed its peremptory writ, but then recorded the plat before obtaining any type of remedy. What the developer could have done was first obtain a final ruling in the writ proceeding. Allowing the developer to challenge the dedication after it has been recorded contradicts the holdings in Crystal Green and Bartlett. As a result, the district court properly granted the city summary judgment.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art VI, § 2.