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Afton settlement agreement put on hold

Afton's settlement agreement with FOC, LLC and Atomic Properties will have to wait until the June meeting before it is official.

A lawsuit was brought upon 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.

On April 14, the council approved the settlement agreement presented to them at a special meeting which would require ordinance amendments to the ordinances in question that would remedy the regulations on the property, as well as require the city to pay the plaintiffs $200,000.

The ordinance amendments must be approved before the settlement agreement becomes official.

The council was to review the ordinance amendments that were part of the settlement at their May 19 meeting, only to learn that the Planning Commission had tabled them at a special meeting on May 18, until further review and revisions.

"They were really sloppy," commission chair Barbara Ronningen said. "They should have been done more carefully and I'm very uncomfortable with them; but it's your decision, it's your settlement."

Some of the "sloppiness" that Ronningen was referring to were typos, wrong dates, extra information, and everyone having different versions of the ordinances.

The council agreed with the planning commission that the ordinance amendments should be revisited at their June meeting once they have been cleaned up.

City Administrator Jim Norman agreed to cleaning up the ordinances and bringing them back, but he informed the council that no substantial revisions can be made to the content.

"The guts of the settlement agreement cant be changed," he said.

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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