of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
William D. Paul, William D. Paul Law Office, Duluth,
Minnesota, for appellants.
A. Alsop, Joshua P. Devaney, Kennedy & Graven, Chartered,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent Town of Duluth.
perfect an appeal and confer jurisdiction on a district court
in an action initiated under Minnesota Statutes section
462.361, subdivision 1 (2018), an aggrieved party appealing a
zoning variance is only required to serve the municipality
that decided the variance application, rather than the
municipality and all necessary parties.
district court erred by dismissing the action with prejudice
rather than joining the non-municipality defendants to the
action under Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 19.01.
case considers which parties must be served to perfect an
action initiated under Minnesota Statutes section 462.361,
subdivision 1 (2018). Appellants John Schulz, Rebecca Norine,
and Jack Nelson (the Neighbors) sought judicial review of a
zoning variance granted by the Town of Duluth (Duluth) to
Charles Bille and Carol Danielson-Bille (the Billes), who
want to build a retirement home on Lake Superior. The
Neighbors properly served Duluth within the 30-day appeal
period set forth in the local Duluth ordinance that
authorized judicial review of the zoning variance decision,
but failed to serve the Billes within the same 30-day period.
district court dismissed the Billes from the case because
they had not been timely served. It then dismissed the entire
action, determining that the Billes were a necessary and
indispensable party under Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure
19.01 and 19.02, and that the action could not proceed
without them. The court of appeals affirmed. The Neighbors
seek review of this application of section 462.361 and Rules
19.01 and 19.02. We reverse the court of appeals and remand
to the district court for reinstatement of the Neighbors'
action and for further proceedings consistent with this
Billes are joint owners of real property in Duluth who sought
a zoning variance to build a home on their property. The
Neighbors are joint owners of land adjacent to the Billes.
The Neighbors opposed the Billes' variance because they
alleged that construction of the Billes' home would
obstruct their view of Lake Superior.
Billes filed their first variance application with the Town
of Duluth Planning and Zoning Commission (the Commission) on
March 7, 2017. The Commission granted the variance. Opposing
the variance, the Neighbors appealed to the Town of Duluth
Board of Supervisors (the Board). The Board granted the
Neighbors' appeal and denied the Billes' variance
Billes then filed an amended variance application with the
Commission on July 15, 2017. Three weeks later, the
Commission again granted the Billes' variance, and the
Neighbors again appealed. This time, the Board
denied the Neighbors' appeal and
granted the Billes' variance application. A copy
of the Board's decision was delivered to the
Neighbors' attorney on September 8.
Town of Duluth's zoning ordinance provides aggrieved
persons a right to appeal a decision of the Board. Town of
Duluth, Minn., Zoning Ordinance No. 5, art. XIV, § 3.E.4
(Sept. 10, 2015). The ordinance states in relevant part:
All decisions made by the Town Board in hearing appeals from
Planning Commission determinations shall be final, except
that any aggrieved person or persons . . . shall have the
right to appeal within thirty (30) days after delivery of the
decision to the appellant, to the District Court in St. Louis
County on questions of law and fact.
ordinance and Minnesota Statutes section 462.361, subdivision
1, authorized the Neighbors' appeal to the Saint Louis
County District Court. Each party agreed that, under the
ordinance, the 30th day for filing was October 8, a Sunday;
the following day was Columbus Day, a legal holiday; and the
deadline for filing an appeal, therefore, was Tuesday,
initiate their appeal from the Board's decision, the
Neighbors personally delivered a copy of the summons and
complaint to the Saint Louis County Sheriff on October 9,
2017, who then served Duluth on October 20, 2017. On October
10, 2017, the Neighbors faxed a copy of the summons and
complaint to ...