may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Nanette Blom, et al.,
St. Louis County Planning Commission,
Filed January 12, 1999
Affirmed; motion denied
St. Louis County Planning Commission
Greg C. Gilbert, Laura J. Schacht, Johnson, Killen, Thibodeau & Seiler, P.A., 811 Norwest Center, 230 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for relators)
Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Amy J. Hunt, Assistant County Attorney, 100 North Fifth Avenue West, #501, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent)
Robert C. Maki, Shawn B. Reed, Maki & Overom, Chartered, 31 West Superior Street, Suite 402, Duluth, MN 55802 (for amicus curiae Anthony Katzmarek)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Randall, Judge.
This zoning dispute involves approval of a conditional use permit to operate a borrow pit in Grand Lake Township, St. Louis County. Nanette and James Blom, homeowners who reside near the pit, argue the St. Louis County Planning Commission acted arbitrarily and capriciously in: (1) finding the borrow pit site had been in continuous use since January 1, 1969; and (2) granting an "existing pre-ordinance pit" conditional use permit. In addition, the Bloms move to strike part of the amicus curiae brief. We deny that motion and affirm.
St. Louis County, Minn., Zoning Ordinances, No. 46, art. VI, § 25.02(A)(Z) (1993), states:
No borrow pits may be closed under this provision if the pit was established prior to January 1, 1969 and has been in continuous use since that date, application is made within the 18 month period, and the minimum standards are met. Continuous use is defined as the removal of a minimum of 100 cubic yards of material every two years.
(Emphasis added.) Interpretation of a zoning ordinance is a question of law that should be construed (1) according to the plain and ordinary meaning of its terms, (2) in favor of the property owner, and (3) in light of the ordinance's underlying policy goals. Frank's Nursery Sales, Inc. v. City of Roseville, 295 N.W.2d 604, 608-09 (Minn. 1980); Medical Servs., Inc. v. City of Savage, 487 N.W.2d 263, 266 (Minn. App. 1992). General rules of statutory construction may also aid interpretation. See Batalden v. County of Goodhue, 308 N.W.2d 500, 501 (Minn. 1981) (interpreting a zoning ordinance using canons of statutory construction).
The record demonstrates: (1) the previous owner of the property obtained a conditional use permit to operate a borrow pit from the Town of Grand Lake; (2) when St. Louis County took over zoning responsibility for Grand Lake in 1993, the pit was a permitted land use for that property; (3) the extent of excavation on the property in aerial photographs taken in 1961, 1972, 1981, 1989, and 1997; and (4) a 1967 memorandum from the assistant county attorney to the county highway department indicates extensive excavation. Although there was conflicting evidence provided by neighbors, the commission's decision that the pit qualified as a pre-existing pit has record support and is reasonable.
The parties presented testimony and evidence to the commission. After consideration of the evidence, the commission concluded the pit qualified as a pre-existing borrow pit, granted a conditional use permit, and imposed conditions governing times of day/year that certain operations may occur, establishing a buffer zone, requiring fencing, and mandating use of only one entrance to the pit. Under these circumstances, the commission's decision was reasonable and its proceedings were fair and complete.
Affirmed; motion denied.