This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).





Pelican Lake Property Owners Association

Of Crow Wing County, et al.,



County of Crow Wing, et al.,


Filed August 17, 1999

Reversed and remanded

Toussaint, Chief Judge

John H. Erickson, Erickson and Peterson, 319 South Sixth Street, P.O. Box 525, Brainerd, MN 56401 (for relators)

Paul D. Reuvers, Erstad & Riemer, P.A., 1000 Northland Plaza, 3800 West 80th Street. Minneapolis, MN 55431 (for respondent Crow Wing County)

Thomas A. Fitzpatrick, 220 Laurel Street, P.O. Box 367, Brainerd, MN 56401 (for respondent Marrin)

Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Anderson, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.


TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

Relators challenge the County Board of Commissioners' (BOC) decision to allow rezoning of lake-front property. Relators argue that Crow Wing County did not follow the rezoning procedures required by zoning ordinance for Crow Wing County, Minn., art. XII, § 12.24(c); art. XIII, § 13.1; 13.3; 13.6; § 14.1 (1991). Because Crow Wing County did not follow the required rezoning procedures, we reverse and remand.


The interpretation of an existing ordinance is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. Frank's Nursery Sales, Inc. v. City of Roseville, 295 N.W.2d 604, 608 (Minn. 1980). State by Minneapolis Park Lovers v. City of Minneapolis, 468 N.W.2d 566, 569-70 (Minn. App. 1991), review denied (Minn. July 24, 1991).

The relevant articles of the zoning ordinance explaining the proper procedural requirements include:

13.1 Crow Wing County Board of Adjustment

Its purpose is to act upon all questions as they may arise in the administration of the Crow Wing County Zoning Ordinance, including the interpretation of Zoning Maps, and to hear and decide appeals from the review of any order, requirement, decision or determination made in the administration and enforcement of this Ordinance.

13.3 Power of Review

The Board of Adjustments shall act upon all questions as they may arise in the administration of this Ordinance, including interpretation of Zoning Maps and it shall hear and decide appeals from the view of any order, requirement, decision or determination made in the administration and enforcement of this Ordinance. The Board of Adjustment may reverse or affirm wholly or partially, or modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination as in its opinion ought to be made, and to that end shall have all the powers of the Zoning Administrator or of the Planning Commission.

13.6 Determination of Additional Permits in Conjunction with Variances

Whenever the granting of a Planned Unit Development Permit, Conditional Use Permit, Shoreland Alteration Permit, or Dirtfill Permit is or could be dependent or conditioned upon the determination of a Variance application, so that all such applications could be determined in conjunction with each other, the Board of Adjustment shall have the exclusive power to make such determinations.

14.1 As required by State Law, all decisions by the Board of Adjustment in granting variances or in hearing appeals from any administrative order, requirement, decision, or determination shall be final, except that any aggrieved person or persons, or any department, board, or commission of the jurisdiction or of the State shall have the right to appeal within thirty (30) days after receipt of notice of the decision, to District Court in the County in which the land is located on questions of law and fact within thirty (30) days of receipt of notice of the decision. Notification of an appeal must be received by the Zoning Administrator prior to expiration of the above stated thirty (30) day period.

Zoning Ordinance for Crow Wing County, art. XIII, §§ 13.1, 13.3, 13.6; art. XIV, § 14.1.

Relators argue that under these ordinance they were entitled to: (1) be heard before the Board of Adjustments (BOA); (2) an appeal to the BOA from an adverse ruling; and (3) seek reversal of further adverse results to the district court. Relators further argue that not only did they have the right to be heard before the BOA, but that they should have had the opportunity to be heard at an evidentiary hearing were they could present their claims.

Respondents counter that the BOA entertained an appeal of the planning commission's decision in October of 1997 and that the BOA met again in January of 1998 and affirmed the recommendation of the Planning Commission to rezone the property, thereby effectively supporting the BOC's decision.

Respondents agreed at oral argument that the county failed to follow the procedures outlined in the ordinances and that the hearings were improperly held before the BOC, rather than the BOA. In fact, the appeal here is from the BOC decision and not the BOA decision. Because the county failed to follow it's stated procedures, we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with the county's zoning ordinance.

Reversed and remanded.