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Afton hit by yet another lawsuit

Afton is on the receiving end of another lawsuit.

According to the city administrator, Jim Norman, the city received notification of the legal action by Grand Garages (Riverbank Exchange, LLC) on Oct. 22.

Grand Garages applied to Afton City Council in 2004 for a special use permit allowing the applicant, Jim Zeller, to use land at Hudson Road as a self-storage warehousing facility for classic cars and other motors.

According to a letter from the League of Minnesota Cities to the city of Afton, the court action alleges that the city acted in a manner contrary to statue and in excess of its powers by the adoption of four ordinances since approving the special use permit (now a conditional use permit), rendering the permit invalid.

Grand Garages (filing as Riverbank Exchange, LLC) seeks damages, relief from the court, costs and attorneys' fees from the city through the lawsuit.

As an alternative, Grand Garages asks the court to determine that the city has, by depriving the company of any beneficial use of the land, in effect "taken" the land, and to award just compensation for the lost value of the property.

Speaking Monday, administrator Norman added the Grand Garages case was similar in nature to several lawsuits already settled by the city, and also to the outstanding case against the city by FOC, LLC.

That lawsuit makes several claims against the city, including the allegation that the city specifically targeted the FOC property, which sits in the industrial zone of Afton, and made it impossible for development to take place by imposing unreasonable construction limitations and impervious surface area requirements.

Last year, eight lawsuits were filed against Afton. Just two remain outstanding.