Court of Appeals 10.27.09

The Court releases an unpublished opinion affirming the City of Birchwood’s handling of docks on their public park with shoreline on White Bear Lake.  The primary issue is who holds the riparian rights to the shore – the City by ownership of the park parcels or landowners holding access easements dating to the original subdivision of land.  Like many real-estate focused decisions, this opinion isn’t a groundbreaker but is handy to keep around as a nutshell guide to the topic at hand.  On top of the riparian-right issue, the Court also re-affirms that local government regulation of docks will usually trump any claim of property right to install a dock. 

It’s not clear that the appellants meant for the case to be decided on riparian rights alone.  Just name-dropping section 1983, due process, and equal protection isn’t enough to raise an issue, though.  The Court brushes those issues aside, but not without suggesting that the outcome could be different if the issue were plead properly (the City does grant rights on the beach to a different dock association).  This looks like a shot at both the appellants’ attoney and the city, to me.

File it away – we’ve all had those times where pushing a government staff member into a wall, chasing the person into a secured area, prying your way into same secure area, shoving that person into an office and barring the door is just another part of the day.  Especially when you want to see some government documents, and see them now, but some punk deputy department director asks you to make an appointment.  Some things just have to be done.  Just know, when it’s all done, you’re not going to be able to claim the right to make a citizen’s arrest as a defense to the trespassing and disorderly conduct charges coming your way when the dust settles.


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