Crystal Green v. City of Crystal

Decision Date29 March 1988
Docket NumberNo. CX-87-1860,CX-87-1860
Citation421 N.W.2d 393
PartiesCRYSTAL GREEN, Petitioner, Appellant, v. CITY OF CRYSTAL, Respondent.
CourtMinnesota Court of Appeals

Syllabus by the Court

Absent a showing of duress or coercion on the part of the municipality, a dedication requirement may not be challenged after the plat is approved and filed.

Bradley J. Gunn, Olson, Gunn & Seran, Minneapolis, for appellant.

James J. Thomson, Jr., LeFevere, Lefler, Kennedy, O'Brien & Drawz, Minneapolis, for respondent.

League of Minnesota Cities, Thomas L. Grundhoefer, St. Paul, for amicus curiae.

Heard, considered and decided by NIERENGARTEN, P.J., and SEDGWICK and FORSBERG, JJ.

OPINION

NIERENGARTEN, Judge.

Crystal Green partnership (Crystal Green) appeals from summary judgment against it in its inverse condemnation action against the City of Crystal (City). We affirm.

FACTS

In October 1983, Crystal Green purchased 15.6 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to Highway 169 in Crystal for the purposes of developing a subdivision. In 1984, Crystal Green met with the city engineer to discuss the proposed subdivision. Crystal Green was advised to contact the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) because MnDOT planned to build a frontage road. The city engineer advised Crystal Green that the City would require it to dedicate the right-of-way as a condition of plat approval.

At plat approval hearings Crystal Green objected to the dedication requirement as an unconstitutional taking of the property without compensation but agreed to dedicate the land "under protest" and received final plat approval. Crystal Green's president testified that he did not challenge the dedication prior to plat approval because the seller, under the 1983 purchase agreement, would not wait, and he would be unable to obtain financing without final plat approval. Before contacting the City concerning its requirements Crystal Green paid $5,000 in earnest money. The partnership incurred an additional $20,000 in development costs with full knowledge of the required dedication.

The final plat was filed with the Hennepin County Registrar of Titles on January 7, 1985. Crystal Green sold all 49 lots to a construction company at a profit, but alleges that the dedication cost it five or six lots at approximately $18,000 per lot, or $90,000 to $108,000.

Crystal Green applied for a writ of mandamus requiring the City to institute condemnation proceedings for the taking of Crystal Green's property. Summary judgment was granted to the City and Crystal Green appeals.

ISSUE

May a developer who consented to a dedication requirement by filing a plat containing the dedication, challenge the dedication requirement after the plat has been approved and filed?

ANALYSIS

Acting pursuant to statutory authority, 1 the City required Crystal Green to dedicate a portion of the proposed subdivision for future use as a frontage road in order to gain plat approval. The municipality is limited to a "reasonable portion." Collis v. City of Bloomington, 310 Minn. 5, 17, 246 N.W.2d 19, 26 (1976). Crystal Green could have challenged the reasonableness of the City's dedication requirement prior to the filing of the final plat through various remedies including mandamus, certiorari, injunction and the declaratory judgment action. See Minn.Stat. Sec. 462.361, subd. 1 (1984); Honn v. City of Coon Rapids, 313 N.W.2d 409, 413 (Minn.1981). Either mandamus or a declaratory judgment action would have been appropriate remedies in this case.

There is no material fact issue. Simply put, the legal issue is whether Crystal Green may challenge the reasonableness of the required dedication after it filed a plat including the dedication. See Minn.R.Civ.P. 56.03; Betlach v. Wayzata Condominium, 281 N.W.2d 328, 330 (Minn.1979) (on appeal, appellate courts must determine if there are issues of material fact and whether the trial court erred in applying the law.)

Crystal Green argues that it was not economically feasible to litigate the issue and wait to begin its project. However, Crystal Green did not consult the City about possible dedication requirements prior to payment of the $5,000 earnest money and all the development expenses were incurred after ...

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  • Town of Flower Mound v. Stafford Estates
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • February 14, 2002
    ...Selby Realty Co. v. City of San Buenaventura, 10 Cal.3d 110, 109 Cal.Rptr. 799, 514 P.2d 111, 122 (1973); Crystal Green v. City of Crystal, 421 N.W.2d 393, 394-95 (Minn. Ct.App.1988); Pfeiffer v. City of La Mesa, 69 Cal.App.3d 74, 76, 137 Cal.Rptr. 804 (Cal.Ct.App.1977); see also Trimen Dev......
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