In a pair of recent trials with lasting impacts for municipalities, Iverson Reuvers attorneys Paul Reuvers and Andrew Wolf successfully defended two cities planning for a sustainable, climate-resilient futures.
The first, Jeffrey Bahe, Robert A. Williams vs City of Columbia Heights, 02-CV-20-3146, challenged the City of Columbia Heights efforts to enforce its Zoning Ordinance against harmful long-standing, though illegal, automobile impound and outdoor storage uses. The Court found the use of the property at issue was an illegal nonconformity, and the City did not commit any wrongful conduct by failing to enforce its Zoning Ordinance against the Property sooner.
The second, Robert C. Tengdin, Trustee of the Robert C. Tengdin Revocable Trust dated May 18, 2009 vs City of Edina, 27-CV-20-2227, alleged the City of Edina failed to properly inspect, repair, and maintain a wetland, which was the natural depository of stormwater within the City. The issue came to a head in 2019, which was one of the wettest years and the last year in the wettest decade in Minnesota’s recorded history, when the natural wetland flooded surrounding properties. At trial, Reuvers and Wolf showed the City was not only not negligent, but was a sterling example for other municipalities trying to become more climate change resilient by tacking their water issues in sustainable and efficient manner. Following a four-day trial the district court concluded the climate, and prolonged period of greater than average rainfall, caused the flooding issues, not the City. The Court further found no actions by the City caused the accumulation of water, and no inspection or maintenance activities could have prevented it.