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In the three weeks since the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision in the Harstad v. Woodbury suit, BATC-Housing First Minnesota has been busy with local advocacy related to the landmark decision.
Last month, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that not only are development fees, like Woodbury’s Major Roadway Assessment Fees, not authorized under Minnesota law, cities are not able to use development agreements as a tool to enter into negotiations over unauthorized fees. The Court upheld a lower court ruling that a city cannot condition approval of a development agreement o the willingness of a developer to pay unauthorized city fees,.
Immediately following the August 15 decision, BATC-Housing First Minnesota sent letters to 25 high-production cities across Minnesota, asking for information on development fees and how the cites intend to comply with the Harstad v. Woodbury decision.
Some cities have already stop collecting development-related fees in the wake of the Harstad ruling. The city of Lakeville, the state’s top production city for new homes, said in a letter to BATC-Housing First Minnesota it was discontinuing its “Future Improvement to Adjacent Street Charge.” Justin Miller, Lakeville’s city administrator wrote, “in light of the recent Harstad decisions, the City of Lakeville is no longer including this fee in our development contracts and do not have plans to restructure it in the future.” Savage, Minn., ceased collecting its unauthorized development fee at the beginning of the year.
At least one high growth city, however, is looking to stop all development for up to one year due to Supreme Court ruling. The City of Dayton declined a meeting request from BATC-Housing First Minnesota and has instead begun work on enacting a one-year development moratorium in one of the state’s fastest growing cities. BATC-Housing First Minnesota is sending letter to the city saying the moratorium is the wrong step for Dayton to take and staff will be at the Sept. 26 City Council meeting to oppose the proposed development moratorium.