Posted by: Patricia Salkin | March 16, 2017

Fed. Dist. Court in MN Rejects Section 1983 and Preemption Claims Arising from Denial of Permits to Build Manufactured Homes

Plaintiff Parkview Homes, LLC proposed its plan to construct new manufactured homes to the City of Lexington in 2014. Soon after this initial proposal, the City informed Parkview that the proposed homes did not meet the building code’s minimum square footage and width requirements, and the City would therefore not approve the requested permits. The City also notified Parkview that it would not approve Parkview’s applications until it satisfied six requirements, including providing a “comprehensive plan” of its “proposed rehabilitation of the park,” including information on lot setbacks and boundaries, construction and utility plans, storm water compliance, disability accessibility, and sewer discharge data.  In response, Parkview sought a declaratory judgment that the City’s refusal to issue the requested permits was improper because it conflicted with federal law regarding the requirements for manufactured homes.  Parkview also asserted a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the City “impermissibly attempted to interfere and actually interfered” with Parkview’s property interests in the Community by refusing to issue the requested permits under false pretenses.

As to the federal preemption claim, the court noted that Congress did not intend for the American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act (“AHEOA”) to extend preemption to local standards that did not concern safety and construction requirements for manufactured homes. Here, the only specific Code provisions that Parkview identified as preempted by § 5403(d) were those setting minimum width and square footage requirements for manufactured homes. The court declined to find that these provisions were related to construction or safety standards; thus, Parkview’s preemption claim failed as a matter of law.

Lastly, because Parkview’s preemption and § 1983 claims failed, the only question that remained was whether the court should exercise pendant jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. Here, the court found that because these claims dealt solely with matters of state law, they would be best addressed in state court. Accordingly, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Parkview’s remaining state law claims.

Parkview Homes, LLC v. City of Lexington, 2017 WL 758573 (D. MN 2/27/2017)

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