Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 2, 2009

Modification to Conditional Use Permit Reducing Number of Parking Spaces Upheld

Dehnert owned a piece of property that was divided by a city street right of way.  On the west side of the street, his parcel contained restaurant space, and on east side of the street the parcel contained a marina. Dehnert applied for several variances and an amendment to a conditional-use permit (CUP) issued in 1999 that required him to provide or arrange for 15 parking spaces on his property (although the zoning district regulations allow for fewer spots). Specifically, he requested that the required number of parking spaces be reduced 11, and the variance requests sought setback waivers to enable him to alter the configuration of the parking lot near the restaurant.  The city council approved the applications.  Neighbors brought a declaratory judgment action to invalidate the approval.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the City and dismissed the complaint.  The Appeals Court affirmed.

The Court determined that because the setback requirement constituted an undue hardship, the City Council’s decision to grant the requested variances was neither arbitrary nor capricious. With respect to the requested modification to the CUP, the appeals court noted that even by reducing the number of parking spaces to 11, this was still more than the 8 required under the zoning ordinance. Therefore, the Council did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner when it approved the application for a modification to the 1999 CUP because the proposed modifications satisfied the requirements of the zoning district.

Eitel v. City of White Bear Lake, No. 2009 WL 9110402 (Minn. Ct. App. 4/7/2009)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/minnesotastatecases/appunpub/0904/opa081066-0407.pdf


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