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Thul v. State

March 11, 2003

STEVEN M. THUL, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF MINNESOTA, RESPONDENT.



Anoka County District Court File No. TX0021308

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Hudson, Judge, and Poritsky, Judge.*fn1

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. City of Ham Lake, Minn., City Code § 9-470 (2000), restricting the operation of regulated aircraft in certain residential areas, does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

2. City of Ham Lake, Minn., City Code § 9-470 (2000) does not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as being constitutionally void due to vagueness.

3. City of Ham Lake, Minn., City Code § 9-470 (2000) is not preempted by federal law.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kalitowski, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

Appellant Steven M. Thul challenges the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief for violating City of Ham Lake, Minn., City Code § 9-470 (2000). The post-conviction court determined that the ordinance at issue did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and was not constitutionally void for vagueness.

FACTS

In October of 1998, appellant received the first in a series of letters from the City of Ham Lake (Ham Lake), informing appellant that the city had received complaints regarding appellant's operation of a helicopter from his property and requesting that appellant cease doing so. On Novemberá10, 1999, the Ham Lake City Attorney advised the mayor and the city council that the current ordinances then in effect would not apply to appellant's helicopter activities and suggested zoning amendments as a possible solution.

The city council discussed appellant's helicopter use at a council meeting on December 6, 1999, and directed the city attorney to draft an ordinance clarifying where helicopters may take off and land in Ham Lake. At the city council meeting on Januaryá3, 2000, the council again discussed helicopter regulations, agreeing that requiring a Federal Aircraft Administration (FAA) approval letter as part of the ordinance would be helpful by providing needed expertise in this area. The council then completed the first reading of an ordinance regulating where helicopters may take off and land in Ham Lake.

On January 18, 2000, the council adopted Ordinance 9-470 (ordinance), regarding the operation of helicopters in certain residential areas. The ordinance reads as follows:

9-470 Operation of Regulated Aircraft

It shall be unlawful for any person operating a Regulated Aircraft to take off from or land upon any land in the City of Ham Lake except as provided herein.

9-470.1 R-1; R-M; R-2; ML PUD; PUD; RS-1 and RS-2 Zoning Districts

Regulated Aircraft are prohibited from landing or taking off in the R-1, R-2, R-M, ML-PUD, PUD, RS-1, and ...


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