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April 17, 2021

3/19/2021 2:03:00 PM
Mediator selected for Phase One of Chisago City 'Villas' lawsuit

The State of Minnesota is suing the City of Chisago City and co-defendant, High Pointe Land LLC,  alleging the city’s authorization of docking spaces as part of a new housing plat called Green Lake Villas, was unlawful.   

Construction of the dwellings is well underway, on the former Lakeside Elementary School property, on Highway 8.  

The lawsuit seeks a ruling that the approvals the city gave were arbitrary and are not supported by the facts.  The DNR, represented by the Office of the Attorney General,  wants the court to require Chisago City to re-plat the new development minus the 24 moorings approved for Green Lake, for use by non-lakeshore lot owners.
Costs for the lawsuit are being requested to be reimbursed.

The DNR contends that Chisago City failed to follow ordinances in approving the final plat even though the city was advised the plan didn’t comply with its own ordinances.  The city should not have issued a Conditional Use Permit for 35 total “uncentralized’ spaces for the new development, the DNR argues.

The state contends that under shoreland development rules there are 13 mooring spaces permissable, related to the number of dwellings allowed on “Tier One” or the area abutting lakeshore.  

Chisago City also failed to follow code when it did not require the developer to apply for a variance, according to the lawsuit.

Chisago City Planning Commission held a hearing August 6, 2020 and approved the villas preliminary plat.  The state pointed out the preliminary plat does not “depict all the mooring spaces” that were eventually approved. Chisago City Council also approved this preliminary plat.

The final plat then requested 35 mooring spaces, with 11 for “lakeshore lots” and 24 for lots that don’t have lakeshore.   The DNR filing says the state notified the city August 25 the plat is in violation of city code. The city council approved the final plat that same day.

City planning commissioners then reviewed an application for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the extra 24 mooring spaces November 5, 2020 in essence approving 35 total mooring spaces on the lake. The planning vote was 4-3.

The state notes in the lawsuit filings that it contacted the city and sent comments about its concerns September 16, October 1 and Oct. 5 2020.

City council members voted to approve this CUP before the DNR’s appeal could be aired, the state’s attorneys maintain.  

Chisago City officially “denied” the DNR appeal December 8, 2020.

The trial could take place sometime in September, but in the interim the court has ordered Chisago City, the DNR and the development corporation to participate in mediation and gave the parties until late last week to select a mediator.  Chisago City Admninistrator john Pechman reports they have Paul Jacobsen handling mediation.  The judge ruled mediation must be completed no later than July 1, 2021.


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