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Appellate court says judge erred in forcing Minneapolis to revert to old residential development plan

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has sided with the city of Minneapolis in the latest development of the 2040 Plan saga.

The lengthy legal battle over the city’s residential development plan and its potential environmental impact stretches back to 2018.

Last fall, a Hennepin County judge granted an injunction sought by several environmental groups, led by Smart Growth Minneapolis, and ordered the city to stop implementing the residential development parts of its 2040 Plan and revert to its 2030 plan while the legal fight continues.

On Monday, the state’s appellate court determined that Hennepin County judge erred in handing down the injunction and reversed the order.

The appellate judges wrote that the district court wrongly put the burden of proof for the injunction on the city rather than Smart Growth and determined that the lack of evidence regarding the environmental impacts of the 2030 plan supported the injunction.

Additionally, the Court of Appeals wrote in its opinion that the record didn’t support forcing the city to revert to the 2030 plan, saying the lack of lawsuits against the 2030 plan “is not reliable evidence that reverting to that plan will be less environmentally harmful than proceeding under the 2040 Plan.”

The filing notes that the city argued it would cause an “unnecessary hardship” to revert to the 2030 plan. While the judge agreed it created difficulties, he wrote that it wasn’t unnecessary. The Court of Appeals disagreed, noting that the city and Metropolitan Council both offered possible solutions to comply with the 2040 Plan obligations while avoiding any disruption in regional planning but those were rejected.

The Court of Appeals says that caused unnecessary hardship to the city.

Despite the ruling, the legal battle is far from over and will head back to the district court for further proceedings.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to both the city and Smart Growth for comment on the ruling and will update this story if a response is received.

The post Appellate court says judge erred in forcing Minneapolis to revert to old residential development plan first appeared on KSTP.com 5 Eyewitness News.

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