White v. City of Elk River

Date: April 02, 2013

This case presents an important question of land use law in Minnesota. Here a small business owner, who has run a campground since the 1970s, has been told that she can no longer operate her business under the City's zoning code.

In 1980 and 1983 her city enacted zoning restrictions that prohibited campgrounds, except if the landowner acquired a conditional use permit. Thereafter, the business owner obtained a conditional use permit in 1984.  And, in 1988 the City amended its ordinance to prohibit campgrounds entirely.

Under the 1988 amendments, landowners would no longer be able to obtain conditional use permits. Nonetheless, the City recognized that the owner had grandfather rights to continue operating her campground in its then current condition as a “non-conforming use.” But, in 2010, the City revoked its 1984 conditional use permit. Since then the business owner has been fighting for her right to operate the campground.

The NFIB Legal Center filed in this case arguing that the campground owner never needed to obtain any permit to continue the same campground operations that it had run since the 1970s. The Minnesota Supreme Court accepted these arguments in ruling in favor of the landowner.

Status: DECIDED. Amicus brief filed on 3/18/13. Court ruled in favor of the campground owner on 12/05/13.

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