Supreme Court Case Press Release

Statement for Release in Response to Media Inquiry: MN Supreme Court Case Involving the City of Shorewood

SHOREWOOD (September 9, 2020) – In 2016 the City of Shorewood was approached by Guy Sanschagrin about his interest in acquiring a small, unbuildable, tax-forfeited remnant parcel on Lake Minnetonka. At the time, Mr. Sanschagrin could not purchase the parcel directly from Hennepin County, so he requested the city purchase the property and then sell it to him and the other buyers. The City recovered only the unpaid taxes for the school district, county, and city.

Prior to the purchase by Mr. Sanschagrin, the staff report for this action (attached to the release) informed him, the council, and the public that the property was far too small to construct a home, and therefore an accessory dock was not permitted. The Shorewood code, like most lakeshore cities, does not allow docks without a principal residence. The City has several unbuildable remnant lots on Lake Minnetonka and Christmas Lake and everyone is subject to the same code requirements. The City engages in code enforcement only upon receipt of a complaint.

“There was ample opportunity prior to the purchase of the lot for Mr. Sanschagrin and the other buyers to raise any concerns with the zoning code. It was only after he acquired the property from the City that he disagreed with the dock restrictions and installed a dock anyway,” said Mayor Scott Zerby. Had Mr. Sanschagrin’s disagreement with the restriction been raised by him prior to acquiring the property, this issue would not have arisen, and the City would not have been obligated to enforce its zoning code.

“The City has paid $53,200 in fees and costs in this enforcement proceeding. The City would far prefer to spend public tax dollars on new playground or public works equipment, but we have an obligation and a duty to apply the rules of the zoning code impartially,” said Mayor Zerby.
“The issue is now before the Minnesota Supreme Court and we await their decision,” said Mayor Zerby.

See the planning commission memo from April 2016 under public notices.