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Woodbury resident loses lawsuit against city

A Woodbury man who sued the city for not allowing him to operate an outdoor boiler lost his battle.

The court's decision came in favor of the city earlier this month.

Woodbury City Council met in a closed session last Wednesday to discuss the order along with a separate potential lawsuit, City Attorney Mark Vierling said.

"The city's position was sustained by the court and the gentleman is going to have to remove it," he said.

The suit, filed in May by Brad Vier, questioned whether or not the outdoor boiler was a public nuisance under city ordinance.

Vier argued he wasn't violating city ordinances on the grounds that council adopted new language to ban outdoor boilers after he installed his in 2008.

The civil suit he filed in Washington County District Court sought compensation for the cost of the boiler, which provided heat to his home, located in the 6300 block of Bailey Road, and additional attorney fees.

When the city received complaints from Vier's neighbors after they saw smoke coming out of the boiler, city officials began considering new language to the ordinance, according to senior planner Melissa Douglas.

But Vier brought the court action seeking judgment that he didn't violate the Minnesota state building code or the city's nuisance code, according to court documents.

"...the city code provisions were changed after the fact and in an effort to target plaintiff," court documents filed by Vier state.

Judge Tad Jude decided the city wasn't in the wrong to determine what's a public hazard and what isn't, even after the fact, according to court documents.

Additionally, he said Vier's outdoor boiler didn't meet the zoning requirements.

"The city is very happy with the decision, of course," Vierling said.

Vier has 30 days from the date of the decision to completely remove the wood boiler.

Vierling said the civil suit was "pretty much a straight-up issue and some people have every right to challenge the city's ordinance if they wish to do so."

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.