From: Onamia Area
Citizens for Responsible Growth
To: Mayor Larry
Milton and the Onamia Council- 1/30/08
Spot zoning is defined as reclassification of a parcel of
land in a manner inconsistent with the existing zoning patterns of the area
for the benefit of the owner and to the detriment of the community without
any substantial public purpose.
Spot zoning occurs when an individual lot or small area
is signaled out for "discriminatory or different treatment from that
accorded surrounding land which is similar in character." Gullickson v.
Stark County Comm'rs , 474 N.W.2d 890, 894 (N.D. 1991) (quoting 2 E. Yokley,
Zoning Law & Practice §13-2 (4th ed. 1978)).
"'A zoning ordinance, or amendment, which singles out and
reclassifies a relatively small tract owned by a single [owner] and
surrounded by a much larger area uniformly zoned, so as to impose upon the
small tract greater restrictions than those imposed upon the larger area, or
so as to relieve the small tract from restrictions to which the rest of the
area is subjected, is called "spot zoning." It is beyond the authority of
the municipality, in the absence of a clear showing of a reasonable basis
for such distinction.'" Gullickson, 474 N.W.2d at 894. The characteristics
of spot zoning include: 1) The use is different from the prevailing use of
the area; 2) the area rezoned is small, and; 3) the classification benefits
a particular landowner. 8 McQuillin, § 25.83 at 307 (J. Jeffery Reinholtz
and Timothy P. Burr, eds.1991). A relevant inquiry is whether the ordinance
is solely for the benefit of a landowner or "whether it is pursuant to a
comprehensive plan for the general welfare of the community." Id. §25.84 at
1. The parcel of land is being reclassified in a manner
inconsistent with the existing zoning patterns of the area.
2. The parcel of land is being
reclassified for the benefit of the owner and to the detriment of the
3. The parcel of land is being
reclassified without any substantial public purpose.
4. The individual area, 38.81
acres is signaled out for "discriminatory or different treatment from that
accorded surrounding land which is similar in character. "
a. The use is
different from the prevailing use of the area
b. The area rezoned
classification benefits a particular landowner
In this case, the parcel is not contiguous to other R2
property and is inconsistent with surrounding properties' current zoning
classifications and land use. The reclassification of this property benefits
the owner, is a detriment to the community, and serves no public purpose.
The reclassification of this property constitutes
Furthermore, the proposed rezoning is discriminatory. It
is not compatible with present or future land use. It is arbitrary and
The proposed sex offender facility is under restrictions
dictated by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Limitations, due to
correctional facility restrictions singles out benefits to this property
owner while being injurious and prohibitive to surrounding property owners.
Onamia Municipal Comprehensive Plan, Planning Commission,
and Board of Adjustment.
In 1999, the Onamia city council failed to
establish a Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments as mandated by
revised city ordinances. The purpose of the Planning Commission is to
establish a Municipal Comprehensive Plan, and act as advisors to the city
council in matters of responsible planning and growth. The Onamia city
council has been operating on its own, without public representation or
input, for the past nine years.
The day after a concerned citizen notified
City Hall that this nonfeasance has become known, the city council had their
lawyer write an ordinance declaring the city council as Planning Commission
and Board of Adjustment. It was passed immediately. The concept of this
ordinance is contrary to the 1999 ordinance and acts without accordance to
the spirit of Minnesota State Law which provides a system of checks and
This monopolization by
combining the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustment, and City Council
also usurps the authority of citizens to determine the future of their town
by establishing a Community Planning Commission, such as the Visioning
Committee currently working towards this goal with grants from the Initiate
Foundation. Under 1999 ordinance, the mayor shall appoint and could have
appointed several of these citizens to a Planning Commission - to act as an
advisory to the city council.
The mayor and city council
have ignored the city's own ordinances, undermined the rights and efforts of
its citizenry, and committed malfeasance. They have abused the power of
their public office.
Other reasons to halt the reclassification of the Nexus
1. This reclassification cannot be
pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan because Onamia lacks a current Municipal
2. This request for rezoning is
a. Utilities and
infrastructure are not in place
utilities and infrastructure will accommodate only the owner of the property
and will not serve the community.
c. Nexus has not
submitted current building plans to the city council/planning
commission/board of adjustments to consider before making their decision.
The weight of this decision bears enormous responsibility and should not be
treated in such an arbitrary and capricious manner.
3. The amending, writing or
rewriting of the zoning ordinances is a blatant attempt by the City Council
to circumvent existing laws in order to spot zone for the benefit of the
owner and to the detriment of the community.
a. "When any condition imposed by
any provision of this Ordinance on the use of land or buildings or on the
bulk of buildings is either more restrictive or less restrictive than
similar conditions imposed by any provision of any other City ordinance or
regulation, the more restrictive conditions shall prevail." [Section 23.
b. Under Criteria for granting
conditional use permits, [Section 21 SUBD. 10] the City Council shall
consider the advice and recommendation of the Planning Commission and the
effect of the proposed use upon the health, safety, and general welfare of
occupants of surrounding lands. Again, the City Council is in violation of
Ordinance Section 21 SUBD. 7. [Section 22. SUBD. 1 A. 1]
4. Rezoning this parcel R2 in order to allow Nexus, a
private corporation to build and operate an institution for convicted
juvenile sex offenders is a prima facie violation of Minnesota Statute
5. A person who knowingly violates a provision or rule of
zoning regulations adopted by any town board pursuant to sections 366.10 to
366.18 is guilty of a misdemeanor. [Minnesota Statute 366.181]
The following findings are applicable:_________________
a. That the conditional use will
be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate
vicinity for the purposes already permitted, and will substantially diminish
and impair property values within the immediate vicinity.
b. The rezoning and erection of
the sexual offender facility will impede the normal and orderly development
and improvement of surrounding vacant property for uses predominant in the
c. The use is not consistent with
the purposes of the zoning code and the purposes of the zoning district in
which the applicant intends to locate the proposed use.
d. The use will cause traffic hazard
e. Existing businesses nearby
will be adversely affected because of curtailment of customer trade brought
about by intrusion of noise, glare, general unsightliness as well as safety
f. The proposed sex offender
facility constitutes a nuisance and will cause disturbances to neighboring
properties as a result.
"All uses shall comply with all federal, state, and local
pollution and nuisance laws and regulations including, but not limited to
glare, smoke, dust, odors, and noise. The burden of proof for compliance of
appropriate performance standards shall lie with the applicant." [Onamia
City Ordinance Section 20 SUBD. 14]
a. Nexus CEO Jim D'Angelo said
that nobody wants to live next to the sex offender institution because of
"the traffic, the noise, and the boys. "
b. Mille Lacs Academy Executive
Director Paul Smith, when asked why he commutes from Foley instead of living
in the Onamia community said that he "prefers to live in the country" and
does not want to be "near ..... a school."
c. Over 60% of Mille Lacs Academy
employees live outside the county.
d. Every adjacent property owner
to the proposed R2 rezoning site agrees that they also don't want the
traffic, the noise, and the boys, prefer to live in the country, and don't
want to be near a school.
e. Nexus has not met the burden
of proof for compliance of appropriate standards, but have themselves
admitted that their sex offender institution is a nuisance.
Minnesota Statute 561.01 Nuisance; Action
"Anything which is injurious to
health, or indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the
free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of
life or property, is a nuisance. An action may be brought by any person
whose property is injuriously affected or whose personal enjoyment is
lessened by the nuisance, and by the judgment the nuisance may be enjoined
or abated, as well as damages recovered."
By amending the zoning ordinances for the sole purpose of
supporting one specific commercial business - Nexus/Nexus Diversified, a
private corporation based in Golden Valley, Minnesota; and allowing them to
construct a large multi-building institution for convicted sex offenders in
a Rl zoned residential community where elderly, infirm, disabled citizens,
and children live; in close proximity of three daycare centers; the total
disregard for the public health, safety, and welfare of its residents and
the environment of the City as well as the surrounding area; failure to
consider a petition by people who will be directly and adversely affected by
this institution in this location; and against the will of The People - who
have received no benefit from this, who have been harmed financially,
mentally, emotionally, and physically; and who have openly opposed this
misguided, ill-conceived project from the moment they found out about it -
We find the Onamia Mayor Larry E. Milton and Councilmen
Bill Hill Jr., Bob Mickus, Mark Loch, Jerome Kryzer, and Zoning
Administrator Mickey Carter, have made grave mistakes and intentionally
acted against citizens, and we hereby file a grievance against them for the
a history of improper procedure, removal of citizens'
Right to Due Process; the lack of providing a Comprehensive Plan, the
failure to establish an independent Planning Commission, and Board of
Adjustment; while manipulating ordinances, circumventing and in prima facie
violation of the law, including the Open Meeting Law; while misinforming and
misleading the public, operating in reckless disregard for the safety of its
citizens; for abusing its power while acting as an agent for a corporation
instead of protecting citizens whose rights for the pursuit of happiness and
self-determination have been greatly and significantly violated, and for
nonfeasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance of the Onamia Mayor and City
Council, we hereby call for your resignations.
The Onamia Area Citizens for Responsible Growth -
January 30, 2008