Court Ruling Emboldens Neighbors
On Friday, December 8th, a Hennepin District Judge ruled the city of Edina violated its ordinances when the city bypassed its Zoning board and granted variances to a development in the city.
This ruling's rulings precedent may be exactly what neighbors need as precedent if a lawsuit proceeds.
The Star Tribune published the following article:
Edina residents who challenged a 17-story condominium tower proposed for the city's Centennial Lakes development won their court case last week when a judge ruled that the city violated its own ordinances and state law in bypassing the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant variances.
Zoning boards would be "mere window dressing -- impotent to effect the ends they were established to serve" if cities could routinely bypass them, said Hennepin District Judge Harry S. Crump.
In response, City Council Member Scot Housh said the city followed procedures it has used in many similar cases. "I don't think we were doing anything inappropriate," he said Friday.
Over the objections of neighbors, the City Council voted 3-2 in May to approve the project, which would include stores and restaurants on the site of a defunct movie theater.
John E. Bohan and his wife, Janet, who live at Centennial Lakes, took the city to court over the proposed building at 7311 France Av. S.
John Bohan said people who buy property in Edina should be able to depend on the city code's requirements. "To grant a variance for a 17-story building in an area that in effect is limited to four or five stories is slapping the homeowners in the area in the face," he said.
Minneapolis attorney Steven Champlin, who represents the developer, Dallas-based Cypress Equities, said no decision on whether to appeal has been made. And because the judge's ruling was based on city procedures, not the merits of the case, the developer could reapply and go through city processes again, he said.
Bohan said that other high-rise buildings in the works in Edina concern him. "The city is now, I presume, going to comply with the code," he said. "If they don't, they'll be back in court."
Donna Halvorsen • 612-673-1709 • email@example.com
--Neighbors Against Porky's--