The City of Scandia has prevailed in court.
Tenth Judicial District Court Judge Douglas Meslow issued a summary judgment last Friday upholding the city’s decision to deny an expansion of the community dock that serves residents of the Tii Gavo neighborhood on Big Marine Lake.
Meslow’s 25-page ruling found that the city council and its staff had applied its land use ordinances correctly and did so after considering a sufficient amount of evidence.
The group of 12 homeowners and the developer, Big Marine Development, LLC, had sought to overturn the council’s May 2019 decision to deny the addition of 10 boat slips to the homeowners association’s shared dock in Painted Turtle Bay.
The lawsuit contended that the city arbitrarily and unreasonably applied its own ordinances, ignored the advice of the city’s Planning Commission and “relied on conjecture, baseless assumptions, and unsupported anecdotes” in denying the expansion. The lawsuit asked the courts to overturn the council decision and asked for $50,000 in damages and related costs.
At the May 2019 council meeting, the Tii Gavo homeowners association had argued the dock expansion was necessary because competition among residents to use the dock’s shared day-use slips was creating more boat traffic through the environmentally sensitive bay and channel than would occur if the additional boat slips were allowed. The dock currently has 19 boat slips, of which 16 are privately held and three are available to homeowners for day-use only. There are 29 homes in the Tii Gavo neighborhood.
The council, however, contended that the number of boat slips was limited based on the 2007 development agreement and should remain the same based on a reading of the city’s shoreland ordinance.
Matt Anderson, an attorney representing the Tii Gavo homeowners, said Friday that the group had not met to discuss the ruling or determine whether to appeal.
Anderson had no other comment.
The homeowners have 60 days to appeal the ruling.
Paul Merwin, an attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities who represented the city, applauded the decision and said it was evidence that “the city did its job.”
“In these cases, people disagree and that’s fine,” Merwin said. “City officials are elected to make these decisions on a reasonable basis. And (the ruling shows) the court is not going to second guess that.”
City Administrator Ken Cammilleri agreed.
“I think this is the result the city was expecting,” Cammilleri said. “The city’s position was, and remains, that the process was followed appropriately.”
Peterson lawsuit still pending
A second lawsuit against the city over a disputed property line is still ongoing.
Scandia residents Curtis and Patricia Peterson have asked the court to declare that the city illegally took part of the Peterson’s lot along Meadow Brook Avenue North for a road right-of-way. The suit asks for the court to either deny the right-of-way or have the city pay $50,000 in damages for the improper taking.
A motion hearing before Judge Meslow in that case is set for Dec. 11.