This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






Handicraft Block Limited Partnership, petitioner,





City of Minneapolis,




Filed September 19, 2000

Affirmed in part and reversed in part

Toussaint, Chief Judge



Gary VanCleve, 1500 NW Financial Center, 7900 Xerxes Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55431  (for appellant)


Carol Elizabeth Lansing, 300 Metropolitan Centre, 333 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)



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


U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N


TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

            The City of Minneapolis (city) designated for heritage preservation the Handicraft Guild Building and the building adjacent to it, located at 89-91 South Tenth Street and 1004 Marquette Avenue respectively.  Relator Handicraft Block Limited Partnership sought review of the city’s preservation designation in this court by writ of certiorari pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 606.01 (1998) and Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 115.  Concluding that the city’s decision to designate the buildings was quasi-legislative, not quasi-judicial, this court discharged the writ for lack of jurisdiction.  See Handicraft Block Ltd. Partnership v. City of Minneapolis, 598 N.W.2d 420, 422-24 (Minn. App. 1999) (holding city’s designation decision was not reviewable because it was quasi-legislative under the factors set forth in Minnesota Ctr. for Envtl. Advocacy v. Metropolitan Council, 587 N.W.2d 838 (Minn. 1999) (MCEA)), review granted (Minn. Oct. 26, 1999).

            Upon further review, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the MCEA factors, when viewed together, showed that the city’s historical-preservation-designation proceedings in this case were quasi-judicial in nature and reviewable by this court on a writ of certiorari.  Handicraft Block Ltd. Partnership v. City of Minneapolis, 611 N.W.2d 16, 24 (Minn. 2000).  Accordingly, the supreme court reversed and remanded for us to determine whether there is sufficient record evidence to support the designation.  Because there is record evidence that the Handicraft Guild Buildings, located at 89-91 South Tenth Street, exemplifies the cultural significance of the Arts and Craft movement in Minnesota, we affirm the city’s heritage-preservation designation of that building.  But because there is no record evidence of the historical or cultural significance of the 1004 Marquette Avenue building, we reverse.


“On writ of certiorari, we determine whether [the agency] * * * erred as a matter of law, issued a decision unsupported by substantial evidence, or acted arbitrarily or capriciously.” 


In re Quantification of Envtl. Costs, 578 N.W.2d 794, 799 (Minn. App. 1998) (quotation omitted), review denied (Minn. Aug. 18, 1998); see Minn. Stat. § 14.69 (1998) (setting forth standards of judicial review of agency decisions).  On appeal, the party seeking review bears the burden of proving the agency’s decision violates one or more provisions of Minn. Stat. § 14.69.  Markwardt v. State Water Resources Bd., 254 N.W.2d 371, 374 (Minn. 1977).  Relator argues that there isn’t substantial evidence to support the city’s conclusion that the Handicraft Guild Buildings satisfy at least one primary designation criterion and the secondary considerations for historical preservation.

Substantial evidence means:

1.         Such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion;

            2.         More than a scintilla of evidence;

            3.         More than some evidence;

            4.         More than any evidence; and

            5.         Evidence considered in its entirety.


Cable Communications Bd. v. Nor-West Cable Communications Partnership, 356 N.W.2d 658, 668 (Minn. 1984) (citation omitted).  In determining whether substantial evidence exists, this court must consider the evidence in light of the entire record as submitted.  Minnesota Power & Light Co. v. Minnesota Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 342 N.W.2d 324, 332 (Minn. 1983).

Before the Minneapolis City Council voted on local heritage designation, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission held public hearings on July 14, 1998 and August 11, 1998; the Minneapolis City Planning Commission held a public hearing on August 24, 1998, and the Minneapolis City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee held a public hearing on September 22, 1998.  Interested parties, including relator, were invited to comment on the proposed designation of the Handicraft Guild Buildings during the hearings and by letter to the city council.  In addition to numerous concerned citizens, many organizations submitted comments supporting designation, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Lowry Hill History Committee, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Minnesota Historical Society, and Women Historians of the Midwest. 

            The Minneapolis City Planning Department report, which is apparently based on a 1995 designation study conducted by Landscape Research, stated that the Handicraft Guild Building is an “example of the religious and cultural development of Minneapolis.”  In addition, the report explains that the building is a unique aspect of the city’s cultural and artistic heritage because it housed one of the nation’s leading arts organizations during the period when the Arts and Crafts movement flourished. Similarly, the Landscape Research designation study states that the building was a center for artists’ and craftspeople’s exhibits and lecturers.

At the September 22, 1998 zoning and planning committee meeting, Britta Bloomberg, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer at the Minnesota State Historical Association, testified in support of designation.  Quoting from documentation prepared to nominate the Handicraft Guild Building for the national register in Washington D.C., Bloomberg explained that the building is historically significant because it was: (1) the headquarters for one of the oldest arts and crafts organizations in the country; (2) a mechanism for spreading craftsman philosophy in Minnesota; and (3) the first artistic training school in Minnesota.  George Edwards, Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, testified on behalf of more than 700 members statewide in favor of designation and commented on the great historical and cultural significance of the building.  In opposition to designation, relator submitted the Martinson report, which concluded that the buildings were not worthy of designation, and a report prepared by Rupert & Rupert Associates, Inc., detailing the anticipated pecuniary loss to relator resulting from the proposed heritage designation. 

On this record, there is substantial evidence to support the city’s conclusion that the Handicraft Guild Building, located at 89-91 South Tenth Street, is significant under one of the primary designation considerations as “an example of the religious and cultural development of Minneapolis.”[1]  But in addition to satisfying at least one of the primary designation criteria, the city must also consider whether: (1) there are assurances that the candidate property is not hazardous to the community’s health and safety; and (2) the property is economically and physically sound.  The planning department report and public hearing transcripts indicate that the city considered community health and safety issues and economic and physical soundness in deciding to designate the Handicraft Guild Buildings.  Because substantial evidence supports designation of the Handicraft Guild Building, located at 89-91 South Tenth Street, we conclude that designation was not arbitrary and capricious.

            Relator also contends that the city erred as a matter of law in designating the Handicraft Guild Building without making findings of fact to support its decision.  An agency’s decision is arbitrary and capricious when it is “based on whim or is devoid of articulated reasons.”  In re Proposal by Lakedale Telephone Co. Servs., 561 N.W.2d 550, 553 (Minn. App. 1997) (citation omitted).  While a reviewing court will intervene where the absence of findings or reasoning in the record indicates the agency’s failure to address the salient problem, courts will affirm the decision if the record shows the agency engaged in reasoned decision-making.  See Cable Communications Bd., 356 N.W.2d at 669.  The city made no findings, but the record shows the city engaged in reasoned decision-making and adequately reflects the basis for the city’s designation of the Handicraft Guild Building.

While we affirm designation of the building located at 89-91 South Tenth Street, there is no evidence in the record indicating the Arts and Crafts Guild operated or functioned in the 1004 Marquette Avenue building.  Despite assertions that the building was constructed to provide the guild with additional studio space and the city’s consistent treatment of both buildings as a single building for preservation-designation purposes, the record is devoid of evidence that the 1004 Marquette Avenue building is culturally or historically significant.  Accordingly, we cannot conclude the city engaged in reasoned decision-making with regard to designation of that building.  See White Bear Rod & Gun Club v. City of Hugo, 388 N.W.2d 739, 742, n.4, n.5 (Minn. 1986) (explaining that although the city council was not required to prepare formal findings of fact, remand is appropriate where the record fails to articulate the reasons for the agency’s decision).

In addition, relator argues respondent committed an error of law by not complying with a Minneapolis city ordinance requiring it to prepare a guideline for every building designated for heritage preservation to assist and guide the commission’s review of permits.  See Minneapolis, Minn., Code of Ordinances § 34.40(e) (1980) (requiring preparation of guideline to guide commission’s review of permits to alter a designated area under section 34.60).  Relator, however, fails to recognize that the ordinance is only applicable to property already designated for heritage preservation.  Accordingly, no guideline was required until after the Handicraft Guild Building had been designated.  While relator also claims the city erred as a matter of law by disregarding “secondary considerations” for designation outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan, the record clearly shows that the city addressed such considerations in deciding to designate the Handicraft Guild Building.  Therefore, the city did not err as a matter of law.

            Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

[1] According to Minneapolis’s Comprehensive City Plan for the 1980s, any structure selected for preservation shall be of historic or aesthetic merit and shall satisfy at least one of the primary designation criteria.  The first primary designation criterion warrants designation of structures exemplifying “the broad trends of cultural, political, economic or social history * * * .”