Supreme Court rules against Minot paving district group

A group of northeast Minot property owners have lost their Supreme Court appeal in a lawsuit challenging the way the city handled paving district assessments.

The court ruled July 12 that the city’s alleged failure to give landowners notice of the full extent of the proposed improvements did not violate landowners’ constitutional due process rights.

The case dealt with paving improvements to 36th Avenue Northeast, proposed in 2012 in Paving District No. 476. Notices sent to landowners mistakenly indicated the project extended to 10th Street Northeast rather than 13th Street Northeast. In October 2015, landowners sued to declare the assessments for the completed project invalid because they did not receive proper notice and because the city violated their due process rights by expanding the improvements beyond the original parameters without giving notice. They also stated they were assessed for improvements between 10th and 13th streets that do not benefit their properties but constitute a gift to third parties.

North Central District Judge Todd Cresap had dismissed the complaint, ruling the landowners failed to appeal within the 30-day time limit and any irregularities in the city’s handling of the process did not deprive landowners of their constitutional due process rights.

The Supreme Court opinion, written by Judge Jerod Tufte, affirmed the district court’s decision.

Chief Judge Gerald VandeWalle concurred but wrote he is concerned landowners had only 30 days from financing of the project to bring the lawsuit, yet the city did not acknowledge the error until more than 30 days after financing. He noted the problem exists in the law’s language and any remedy must come from the Legislature.

The paving district included the Stonebridge Farm area, with Schuler Repair, Feland Brothers Properties, Hudye Group and Northern Plains Apartments listed among plaintiffs.

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