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Afton settlement almost reached

The Afton City Council is one step closer to eliminating the lawsuit with FOC, LLC and Atomic Properties now that the settlement agreement has reached its final stages.

At its June 16 meeting, the council approved the necessary ordinance amendments relating to impervious surface area, uses and architectural standards, despite the planning commission's recommendation for denial.

FOC, LLC and Atomic Properties brought the lawsuit against the city in 2007 after the plaintiffs had purchased 69 acres of land that had been rezoned as industrial in the city's comprehensive plan, but then the city adopted ordinance amendments establishing regulations on the property.

The plaintiffs then initiated a lawsuit against the city, stating that the ordinances were in conflict with the city's comprehensive plan, they were arbitrary and capricious, and have effectuated a regulatory taking of their property.

The city council approved the settlement agreement with FOC, LLC and Atomic Properties at a special meeting on April 14.

In the settlement agreement that was presented to the Afton City Council, ordinance amendments to the ordinances in question were proposed that would remedy the regulations on the property, as well as require the city to pay the plaintiffs $200,000.

The planning commission decided to recommend denial of the proposed ordinances at their June meeting because they were in conflict with the Comprehensive plan and certain terms and uses weren't properly defined.

Additional ordinances for approval were presented to the commission at the time that included definitions, but these ordinance could not be voted on because they had not received a public hearing.

These ordinances will go to the planning commission at a later date and then they will go before the council for approval. The settlement agreement will not go into effect until those ordinances are approved.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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