Collis v. City of Bloomington

Decision Date13 August 1976
Docket NumberNo. 45523,45523
Citation310 Minn. 5,246 N.W.2d 19
PartiesGeorge C. COLLIS, et al., Appellants, v. CITY OF BLOOMINGTON, Respondent.
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. Minn.St.1971, § 462.358, subd. 2, which authorizes a municipality to require dedication of land or payment of fees for various purposes, is not, on its face, a taking of property without just compensation contrary to the United States and Minnesota Constitutions.

2. Minn.St.1971, § 462.358, subd. 2, is not an unconstitutional delegation of legislative powers to municipalities.

3. Bloomington City Code, § 20.09 II B, adopted in 1972, implementing Minn.St.1971, § 462.358, subd. 2, is within the scope of enabling legislation and is not, on its face, a taking of property without just compensation contrary to the United States and Minnesota Constitutions.

John C. DeMoss, Minneapolis, for appellants.

Gary Gandrud, City Atty., Cynthia Hovden Albright, Asst. City Atty., Bloomington, for respondent.

Stanley G. Peskar, Gen. Counsel, League of Minn. Municipalities, St. Paul, for amicus curiae, seeking affirmance.

Heard and considered en banc.

KELLY, Justice.

Plaintiffs, George C. Collis and Laurel Collis, appeal from a judgment upholding the constitutionality of a Minnesota statute and Bloomington city ordinance authorizing and mandating dedication of subdivision land to the city for park and recreational purposes or, in lieu of such dedication, payment of fees for those purposes. We affirm.

The trial court decided this case solely on the ground that the statute and ordinance were not unconstitutional on their face. Plaintiffs' amended complaint alleged no further issue, and neither party challenges the trial court's view of the case in this court. Therefore, we will consider only the facial constitutionality of the provisions at issue and will leave the reasonableness of their application to plaintiffs' property to further proceedings.

The background facts appear to be undisputed: Plaintiffs own approximately 14 acres of land in the city of Bloomington near Interstate Highway No. 35W and the Minnesota River. On May 10, 1972, they applied to the city for approval to subdivide the property into single-family lots. A preliminary plat showing 33 lots was approved by the city council with the condition that a cash park donation to the city would be required at the time of final plat approval. On November 20, 1972, the council gave final plat approval to 5 of the 33 lots and set the park donation for those lots at $2,800, which plaintiffs paid. On October 9, 1973, the council gave final approval to the remaining 28 lots, setting the park donation at $16,400.

On January 25, 1973, plaintiffs commenced this action challenging the facial constitutionality of Minn.St.1971, § 462.358, subd. 2, and Bloomington City Code, § 20.09 II B, adopted in 1972, which authorize park dedications. Minn.St.1971, § 462.358 provides in part:

'Subdivision 1. To provide for orderly, economic, and safe development of land and urban services and facilities, and to promote the public health, safety, morals and general welfare, a municipality may adopt subdivision regulations which include minimum physical standards and design requirements as to such urban services and facilities, and procedures for plat approval, including a procedure for appeals from actions of the platting authority. Subdivision regulations shall be adopted by ordinance when the governing body is the platting authority * * *. * * *

'Subd. 2. * * * The subdivision regulations may require that in appropriate plots of subdivisions to be developed for residential uses that a reasonable portion of each proposed subdivision be dedicated to the public for public use as parks and playgrounds, or that the subdivider at his option in subdivisions in excess of 30 acres, contribute an equivalent amount in cash based on the undeveloped land value as defined by the regulations, provided that cash payments received under such regulations shall be placed in a special fund by the municipality and used only for the acquisition of land for parks and playgrounds, development of existing park and playground sites, and debt retirement in connection with land previously acquired for parks and playgrounds. In residential subdivisions of less than 30 acres, the subdivision regulations may provide that the subdivider, at the municipality's option, in lieu of the dedication of land for public use, contribute an equivalent amount in cash based on the undeveloped land value as defined by the regulations, for use as above provided. The subdivision regulations, in setting forth the reasonable portion of each proposed subdivision to be dedicated to the public for public use as provided above, may take into consideration the open space, park, recreational or common areas and facilities which the subdivider has provided for the exclusive use of the residents of the subdivision.' (Italics supplied.) 1

Bloomington City Code, § 20.09 II B, prior to amendment subsequent to the commencement of this action, provided in relevant part:

'Park Donation. It is hereby found and declared that, as a general rule, it is reasonable to require an amount of land equal in value to ten percent of the undeveloped land proposed to be subdivided, be dedicated or reserved to the public for public use for parks and playgrounds. As an alternative, the subdivider may contribute an amount in cash equivalent to the value of land required to be dedicated by this subdivision, except that where the total land involved is less than 30 acres the City shall have the option as to whether cash or land be donated to meet this requirement. The cash payments shall be used only for the acquisition of land for parks and playgrounds or as otherwise provided by statute. To determine the value of the land to be dedicated the undeveloped land value shall be used.

1. Undeveloped Land Value. As used in this section, the term 'undeveloped land value' shall mean the estimate of market value, as calculated by the City Assessor, of the property included in the subdivision as of the date of approval of the final plat.' (Italics supplied.)

The district court upheld the constitutionality of both the statute and the ordinance and ordered judgment for defendant.

The following issues are presented on appeal:

(1) Is Minn.St.1971, § 462.358, subd. 2, which authorizes a municipality to require dedication of land for parks and playgrounds, or payment of fees to be used therefor, as a condition for subdivision approval, a taking of property without just compensation contrary to the United States and Minnesota Constitutions?

(2) Is Minn.St.1971, § 462.358, subd. 2, an unconstitutional delegation of legislative powers to municipalities?

(3) Is Bloomington City Code § 20.09 II B, adopted in 1972 and implementing Minn.St.1971, § 462.358, subd. 2, outside the scope of enabling legislation or a taking of property without just compensation contrary to the United States and Minnesota Constitutions?

1. The statute is challenged as a taking of property without just compensation contrary to the United States Constitution 2 and the Minnesota Constitution. 3 The city's response to this challenge is that the statute is a valid exercise of the police power which comprehends the dedication of recreational space as reasonably related to the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the citizenry. The general rule of taking and the police power is discussed in several excellent law review articles. 4 The specific issue of the application of these principles to subdivision control regulations has been the subject of several recent cases 5 and an excellent law review article. 6

Early cases upheld subdivision dedications for streets, parks, etc., either on the ground that the subdivider voluntarily agreed to so dedicate his land or on the ground that subdivision recordation was a privilege which could be conditioned on dedication. See, Johnston, Constitutionality of Subdivision Control Exactions: The Quest for a Rationale, 52 Cornell L.Q. 871. Obviously, dedication is no less a taking because the property owner is a subdivider who must obtain local approval for his plans. In the case of Pioneer Trust & Sav. Bank v. Village of Mount Prospect, 22 Ill.2d 375, 176 N.E.2d 799 (1961), the Illinois Supreme Court made a substantial contribution to police power analysis. At issue in Pioneer Trust was the validity of a required dedication of land for a school. The Illinois court articulated the following test for distinguishing takings and valid exercise of the police power in subdivision dedications:

'* * * If the requirement is within the statutory grant of power to the municipality and if the burden cast upon the subdivider is Specifically and uniquely attributable to his activity, then the requirement is permissible; if not, it is forbidden and amounts to a confiscation of private property in contravention of the constitutional prohibitions rather than reasonable regulation under the police power.' (Italics supplied.) 22 Ill.2d 380, 176 N.E.2d 802.

The court applied this 'specifically and uniquely attributable' test to invalidate the school dedication:

'However, this record does not establish the need for recreational and educational facilities in the event that said subdivision plat is permitted to be filed, is one that is specifically and uniquely attributable to the addition of the subdivision and which should be cast upon the subdivider as his sole financial burden.

The agreed statements of facts shows that the present school facilities of Mount Prospect are near capacity. This is the result of the total development of the community. If this whole community had not developed to such an extent or if the existing school facilities were greater, the purported need supposedly would not be present. Therefore, on the record in this case the school problem which allegedly exists here is one...

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