Annexation request by Peterson Companies denied

Judge says no to Chisago City attachment

Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

There will be no boundary change in the property description for the Peterson Companies land that borders Wyoming and Chisago City.

Administrative Law Judge Raymond R. Krause made the ruling after hearings on the matter closed on April 17. The company’s petition to detach from the city of Wyoming and simultaneously attach to Chisago City was denied.

The ruling by Krause is that things stay as they are.

The company still has its business located on Wyoming Trail, with roughly half of it located in Wyoming and half in Chisago City. The property and buildings lie partially within both municipalities after a rebuilding project was completed this spring replacing quarters lost in a fire in March of 2011.

After the fire, the company located temporarily in Columbus. They sought incentives to stay in their original location. Their main concerns were duplications of costs related to building and use permits, and the required inspections because the property is governed by two municipalities.

Krause’s written decision listed findings of fact from the hearings.

Chisago County and Chisago City offered tax relief to the company in return for the company rebuilding at its home location. Wyoming did not offer incentives.

In the meantime, the two cities approved a joint powers agreement whereby Wyoming delegated authority for issuing all permits, code enforcement, inspection and fees to Chisago City “in perpetuity” for the Peterson land parcel.

When Peterson Companies determined Wyoming was not going to offer incentives, the owners petitioned to detach the 7.5 acre parcel from Wyoming and attach it to Chisago City. They wanted a boundary adjustment which would put all the property in Chisago City.

The Chisago City Council agreed to take the property through annexation.  However, the Wyoming City Council voted against any proposed detachment of the land  from the city.

With no incentives forthcoming from Wyoming, the company began discussion with both cities about a boundary adjustment which would place the property in Chisago City.

The company filled a petition with the Minnesota Boundary Adjustment Unit to be separated from Wyoming and attached to Chisago City, but the mediation did not work.

The matter was assigned to the administrative law judge in January.

In the meantime Peterson Companies chose to rebuild offices and equipment storage space on the original location on Wyoming Trail. The optimal location for the new building on the site meant the boundary line for the cities cuts through the building. Permits for the building project were issued by Chisago City per the joint powers agreement with Wyoming.

The Ruling

In his ruling Krause observed that both cities have similar populations, land area, geography, and zoning ordinances. Neither city has plans to extend water or sewer service to the property, but both have similar capacity to do so in the future.

Mutual aid and jurisdictional agreements between the two cities stand regarding street maintenance, fire protection and police protection. Because of the joint powers agreement, there is no impact on the state building code.

The loss of tax revenue to Wyoming would be small, but there is no other benefit to the city for losing this. The company would gain because of the incentives. Chisago City would not have benefits, at least right away, because of the tax abatement promised to the company.

In the memorandum attached to the ruling Krause wrote that minimal harm to Wyoming is not the criterion. He referenced Minn. Stat. ß414.061 subd. 5., that the detachment and concurrent annexation must be in the “best interests of both municipalities and the property owner.”

On that basis Krause denied the Peterson Companies petition.

Administrative and legal costs are to be split equally between Chisago City, Wyoming and Peterson Companies.