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In re Annexation of Certain Real Property to City of Proctor from Midway Township

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

April 9, 2018

In re the Matter of the Annexation of Certain Real Property to the City of Proctor From Midway Township

          St. Louis County District Court File Nos. 69DU-CV-16-2676, 69DU-CV-16-2679

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Nathan J. Hartshorn, Assistant Attorney General, (for appellant Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings)

          John H. Bray, Maki & Overom, Ltd., (for appellant City of Proctor) Kenneth D. Butler, (for respondent Midway Township)

          Gunnar B. Johnson, Duluth City Attorney, Nathan N. LaCoursiere, Assistant City Attorney, (for respondent City of Duluth)

          Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Ross, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A nonparty to an orderly annexation agreement made pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 414.0325 (2016) may annex real property within the designated area by ordinance pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 414.033, subd. 2(3) (2016), if all relevant statutory requirements for annexation by ordinance are satisfied.

          OPINION

          WORKE, JUDGE.

         Appellants argue that the district court erred by vacating the chief administrative law judge's order approving the City of Proctor's annexation by ordinance. We reverse.

         FACTS

         In January 2013, respondents City of Duluth and Midway Township entered into an orderly annexation agreement (OA Agreement) and designated certain land in Midway as an Orderly Annexation Area. Midway abuts both Duluth and appellant City of Proctor. The OA Agreement divided the Orderly Annexation Area into three parcels identified as Parcel I, Parcel II, and Parcel III.

         Julia Ann (Hovland) Savalas and George Hovland III own approximately 92 acres of real property (the property) located within Parcel II. In May 2014, the owners executed a petition requesting annexation by ordinance to Proctor. In August 2014, Proctor adopted an ordinance to annex the property. Duluth objected to the proposed annexation by ordinance on the grounds that the property is subject to the OA Agreement and was therefore not eligible for annexation by ordinance into Proctor. In October 2014, the chief administrative law judge (chief ALJ) issued an order annexing Parcel I into Duluth. Neither Duluth nor Midway has commenced proceedings to annex Parcel II or Parcel III.

         In October 2016, the chief ALJ issued her findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order approving Proctor's annexation by ordinance. Duluth and Midway appealed to the district court, which vacated the chief ALJ's order and determined that once real property is subject to an orderly annexation ...


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