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Mpls Order

Mpls Order

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Published by Tim Nelson
Hennepin County District Court judge Mel Dickstein's order on legal challenge to Ryan Companies development.
Hennepin County District Court judge Mel Dickstein's order on legal challenge to Ryan Companies development.

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Published by: Tim Nelson on Dec 20, 2013
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STATE OF MINNESOTA DISTRICT COURT COUNTY OF HENNEPIN FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT Case Type: Declaratory Judgment/Contract Stephanie Woodruff, Dan Cohen, and Paul Ostrow, Plaintiffs, v. City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Defendants.
Court File No.: 27-CV-13-21254 The above-entitled matter came on for hearing before the Honorable Mel I. Dickstein, Judge of District Court, on December 18, 2013, pursuant to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. Plaintiffs Paul Ostrow and Stephanie Woodruff appeared personally. Peter Ginder, Esq., and Susan Segal, Esq. appeared on behalf of Defendant, City of Minneapolis. Brian Rice, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendant, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Based upon the files, records, and proceedings herein, including the arguments of counsel, the Court makes the following:
Plaintiff’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order is DENIED. 2.
The Court’s Order Granting In Part and Denying In Part Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, dated December 13, 2013, is hereby VACATED to the extent the Order granted a Temporary Restraining Order. 3.
The attached Memorandum is incorporated herein by this reference.
Dated: December 20, 2013  _______________________ Mel I. Dickstein Judge of District Court
12/20/2013 11:52:44 am iglus1
Filed in Fourth Judicial District Court
12/20/2013 12:02:45 PM
Hennepin County Civil, MN
Procedural Background
Plaintiffs filed the above entitled matter on December 11, 2013. The Court heard extensive oral argument on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order on December 12, 2013, and issued its Order Granting In Part and Denying In Part Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order on December 13, 2013. The Court found that Plaintiffs failed to sustain their burden to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims that (1) the Downtown East Project exceeds the City’s statutory contribution limit to the Vikings stadium; (2) the Downtown East Project fails to serve a public purpose; and (3) the development fails to advance the public policy aimed at developing “marginal property” within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 469.059. The Court left for further consideration the issue of whether the City has the authority to acquire and maintain parks independent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (“the Park Board” or “the Board”). The Court determined that the Park Board was a necessary and indispensable party to a resolution of the issue, and ordered that Plaintiffs join the Park Board as a party defendant.
 Order Joining Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, dated December 13, 2013. The Court has now received the parties’ respective memoranda and corresponding affidavits, and heard the arguments of the parties and counsel on December 18, 2013. The Court concludes that the issue raised by Plaintiffs regarding the City’s authority to acquire, design and operate a park as a part of the Downtown East Development Project does not  present a justiciable controversy at the present time, and therefore the Temporary Restraining Order should be vacated. In reaching this decision the Court has considered arguments regarding the asserted concurrent jurisdiction of the City and the Park Board over establishment, maintenance and control of parks; the power of the City Council and Park Board to work 2
together to purchase, operate and control parkland; and the current status of the Council and Park Board’s collaborations on the Downtown East Park. The Court will address each of these issues.
The Concurrent Powers Issue 1.
The parties’ respective positions
Plaintiffs argue that the City’s actions in financing the purchase of land for a park, and in the planned design and operation of the park, all exceed its authority under the Minneapolis City Charter (“the Charter”) and should therefore be restrained. Plaintiffs maintain that the Charter specifically reserves to the Park Board those powers associated with adoption and maintenance of parks and parkways in the City. They argue that Charter Chapter 16 § 2 provides that: The Park and Recreation Board of the City of Minneapolis and its successors
 have the power and it
 be its duty to devise, adopt and maintain parks and parkways in and adjacent to the City of Minneapolis, and from time to time to add thereto [and] to designate lands and grounds to be used and appropriated for such purpose… Charter Chapter 16 § 2 (emphasis supplied). The City counters that while the Park Board is given the powers enumerated in Chapter 16, those powers are not exclusive, and do not prohibit the City Council from independently acquiring land for parks and engaging in the design and operation of parks within the City. The City cites Chapter 1 § 2 entitled “Powers,” which provides in relevant part that the City of Minneapolis may, “take and hold, lease and convey all such real, personal and mixed property as the purposes of the corporation may require….” The City maintains that the establishment of a  park and the conveyance of real property constitute two of the general powers enjoyed by municipalities. In support of its position, the City cites Minn. Stat. § 471.15, entitled “Recreational Facilities by Municipalities,” which states, in relevant part, that: 3

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