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

Supreme Court of Minnesota

March 27, 2019

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

         Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts

          Kenneth D. Butler, Kenneth D. Butler, Ltd., Duluth, Minnesota, for appellant Midway Township.

          Gunnar B. Johnson, Duluth City Attorney, Nathan N. LaCoursiere, Assistant City Attorney, Duluth, Minnesota, for appellant City of Duluth.

          John H. Bray, Maki & Overom, Ltd., Duluth, Minnesota, for respondent City of Proctor.

          Keith Ellison, Attorney General, Nathan J. Hartshorn, Assistant Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent Office of Administrative Hearings.

          Steve M. Fenske, Minnesota Association of Townships, Saint Michael, Minnesota; and

          James J. Thomson, Kennedy & Graven, Chartered, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Association of Townships.

          Elizabeth A. Wefel, Flaherty & Hood, P.A., Saint Paul, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

         SYLLABUS

         An orderly annexation agreement under Minn. Stat. § 414.0325 (2018) does not preclude otherwise lawful annexations by ordinance under Minn. Stat. § 414.033 (2018) by non-parties to the agreement.

          OPINION

          MCKEIG, JUSTICE.

         Midway Township and the City of Duluth entered into an orderly annexation agreement pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 414.0325 (2018) regarding certain designated property in Midway and governing future annexations of that property by Duluth. After the orderly annexation agreement took effect, the owners of some of the designated property petitioned the City of Proctor, a non-party to the agreement, to annex their property by ordinance pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 414.033 (2018). Proctor did so. The Chief Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") approved the annexation, but the district court vacated the order, concluding that an orderly annexation agreement precludes annexation by ordinance of property within the designated area by a non-party to the agreement. The court of appeals reversed. Because we conclude that an orderly annexation agreement does not limit the authority of non-parties to the agreement to annex by ordinance property subject to the agreement, we affirm.

         FACTS

         The relevant facts are undisputed. In 2013, Duluth and Midway entered into an orderly annexation agreement pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 414.0325 regarding a certain "designated area" in Midway. See Minn. Stat. ยง 414.0325, subd. 1(b) (explaining that the property subject to an orderly annexation agreement is referred to as a "designated area"). The real property at issue in this case (the "subject property") consists of approximately 92 acres located in the designated area. The owners of the subject property requested that Proctor annex the property ...


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