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Crossroads Center Rochester v. City of Rochester

April 15, 2013

CROSSROADS CENTER ROCHESTER, APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF ROCHESTER, RESPONDENT,
GRAF ENTERPRISES OF ROCHESTER, LLC, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Olmsted County District Court File No. 55CV121781

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

This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2012).

Reversed

Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Stauber, Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION STAUBER, Judge

Appellant challenges the district court's award of summary judgment in favor of respondents in its action seeking a declaration that the city unlawfully approved a site-development plan. Because the district court erred by concluding that appellant lacks standing, and the city's action in approving the site-development plan was unreasonable, we reverse.

FACTS

Appellant Crossroads Center Rochester (Crossroads) owns and operates Crossroads Center, a shopping center in respondent City of Rochester. Respondents GRAF Enterprises of Rochester, LLC, and Graf Family Investments (collectively Graf) own property adjacent to Crossroads Center (the Graf property). The Graf property was originally part of Crossroads Center, but was sold to C.N.N. Corporation, Graf's predecessor in interest, in 1984. At the time of the sale, the property was the site of a Pannekoken Restaurant.

The record reflects that the Graf property does not have direct access to any public roadway. As part of the 1984 sale, therefore, Crossroads and C.N.N. Corp. agreed to a perpetual, transferable "cross-parking easement," giving both parties rights to park on "that portion of [the properties] which is from time to time devoted to parking" and use "that portion of [the properties] which is from time to time devoted to roadway area" for ingress and egress.

Graf bought the property in 2011 and demolished the Pannekoken Restaurant with the intention of constructing a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant (BWW) on the site. The planning department for respondent City calculated that the proposed BWW would require 55 parking spaces to comply with the local ordinance. Due to the size of the proposed BWW, there are only 35 parking spaces on the Graf property. Graf submitted a site-development plan, seeking to use the 1984 easement to satisfy the parking ordinance. The city found that Crossroads Center had a surplus of parking spaces to allow for the overflow of twenty parking spaces that Graf required, and it approved Graf's site-development plan on December 7, 2011.

Crossroads appealed the plan's approval to the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, arguing that the city had misinterpreted and misapplied the city code by calculating that the Graf property required 55 parking spaces and that the 1984 parking easement allowed Graf to use twenty parking spaces owned by Crossroads to satisfy its parking requirements. The zoning board unanimously voted to deny the appeal. Crossroads then appealed to the city's Common Council, which also denied the appeal unanimously.

Crossroads then initiated the current action, seeking a declaratory judgment that the city erroneously calculated the number of parking spaces available on Crossroads Center, erroneously calculated the spaces required by Graf's site-development plan, and misapplied the ordinances by allowing Graf to use parking spaces owned by Crossroads to satisfy its parking requirements.

Graf and the city moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motions, concluding that Crossroads lacks standing to challenge the approval of the site- development plan because "the harm that Crossroads[] claims it may suffer is contingent on future events." The district court went on to find that even if Crossroads did have standing to ...


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