Big win for property rights in Minnesota!

Our firm is happy to announce we won an important case at the Minnesota Supreme Court involving property rights for Minnesotans! The opinion was announced this morning in White v. City of Elk River.

The case involves a campground that was in existence before zoning was enacted by the City of Elk River. Once zoning was enacted, the campground was neither a permitted nor conditionally permitted use - therefore, it was a legal, non-conforming use. Later, the campground obtained a conditional use permit from the city. The land was then rezoned so campgrounds were again not permitted or conditionally permitted uses.

The question then becomes what happens if the city revokes the conditional use permit?

The Minnesota Supreme Court found that:

"A municipality may terminate a nonconforming use of land in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 462.357, subds. 1d-1e (2012) or Minn. Stat. § 465.01 (2012). But a municipality lacks the authority to terminate a nonconforming use by requiring the property owner to obtain a conditional-use permit to continue the use and then revoking the conditional-use permit. Respondent therefore lacked the authority to terminate appellants’ nonconforming use by revoking the conditional-use permit."

This opinion shows Minnesota has great respect for property rights, and offers protection for businesses operating a legal non-conforming use. Governing bodies cannot terminate your use simply by requiring you to obtain a conditional use permit and then revoking that permit.

See the whole opinion here