Jim Yarosh participates in case rejecting city development fee
Recently Jim Yarosh successfully represented developer Frank Kottschade, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), as amici curiae (friends of the court) at the Court of Appeals. On behalf of his clients, Yarosh urged the Court in his amicus brief to affirm the lower court’s decision invalidating a City of Woodbury imposed fee of nearly $1.4 million for future roads that were not included as part of a developer’s proposed subdivision.
In Harstad v. City of Woodbury, the Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s decision to invalidate the fee. The Court held that the city lacked the statutory authority—express and implied—to impose its “Major Roadway Assessment” as a condition of approving the developer’s subdivision application. In so doing, the Court rejected the city’s argument that it had explicit authority under a broad subdivision statute that allowed cities to condition approval on the installation of streets, utilities and other improvements. The Court, citing existing precedent, held that the statute authorized broad planning powers in requiring such improvements, but did not necessarily confer broad financing powers giving cities the ability to require developers to pay for them. The Court also rejected the city’s argument that a statute allowing cities to enter into development agreements permitted the city to contractually impose the fee on the developer.
The city petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court for review of the Court of Appeals’ decision and the Supreme Court granted the petition in November, 2017. Siegel Brill and Yarosh recently filed another amicus brief on behalf of Kottschade, NAHB and BATC with the Supreme Court. The League of Minnesota Cities filed an amicus brief for the City of Woodbury. Oral arguments before the Court will likely occur in the summer or fall with a decision expected by the end of the year.