State Supreme Court hears Puce v. Burnsville park fee case

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Puce v. Burnsville on Oct. 4 in the Minnesota State Capitol. Puce v. Burnsville is a challenge to the city’s park fee ordinance. Under Minnesota law, any development fees or dedications must have a direct connection to the project and the impact must be specific to that project.

The case involves a commercial property at 2208 Old County Road 34 Place, where landowner Almir Puce sought to open an automobile shop and bakery. The city of Burnsville ordered Puce to pay a $37,804 parkland dedication fee before later knocking the fee down to $11,700.

The city of Burnsville won in the initial challenge in Dakota County Court, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the district court ruling in favor of Puce. The appeals court found Burnsville illegally imposed a parkland dedication fee on a commercial developer without reasonably determining the city needed to acquire, develop or improve parkland as a result of the development.

Puce v. Burnsville could have significant impact on the development process. The Burnsville City Council voted to seek further legal review after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled against the city, sending the case to be reviewed by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The League of Minnesota Cities submitted an amicus brief in favor of Burnsville, and Housing First Minnesota submitted an amicus brief in favor of Almir Puce.