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Mathews v. City of Village of Minnetonka Beach

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 17, 2017

Nell Mathews, et al., Relators,
v.
City of the Village of Minnetonka Beach, Respondent.

         City of the Village of Minnetonka Beach

          Patrick B. Steinhoff, Bruce D. Malkerson, Malkerson Gunn Martin LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for relators)

          George C. Hoff, Justin L. Templin, Hoff Barry, P.A., Eden Prairie, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Schellhas, Presiding Judge; Jesson, Judge; and Klaphake, Judge. [*]

         SYLLABUS

         A city does not have statutory authority to certify landowners' purported debt for appeal expenses to a county auditor for collection with landowners' real estate taxes.

          OPINION

          SCHELLHAS, Judge

         Relators argue that respondent lacked statutory authority to certify their purported debt to the county auditor for collection with their real estate taxes. Because the city lacked such authority, we reverse.

         FACTS

         In August 2015, relator landowners Nell Mathews and Max Hacker's neighbors began installing a patio in their backyard. Relators believed that the patio extended into and violated the side setback and average minimum building setback requirements. Respondent City of the Village of Minnetonka Beach planning and zoning administrator (the administrator) nevertheless approved the patio installation.

         In October 2015, relators appealed the administrator's approval by using a city-provided form that stated that relators would be responsible for "the actual costs incurred by the City for engineering, planning and zoning, legal and inspection expenses reasonably and necessarily required by the City" to process the appeal. After the city processed relators' appeal, it notified them that they owed $3, 530.35 in fees and charges to reimburse the city for "planning and zoning and/or engineering services" and that if the "delinquent amount" remained unpaid, the city would recommend the amount "for certification to their property taxes for collection."

         Relators did not pay the purported delinquent amount (debt), and the city council thereafter passed a resolution, "authoriz[ing] certification of these unpaid fees and charges to Hennepin County for collection via assessment to [relators'] property taxes" related to their real estate located in Minnetonka Beach. This certiorari appeal follows.

         ISSUE

         Is the city statutorily authorized to certify landowners' purported debt for appeal expenses to the county auditor for ...


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