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Burns & Hansen, PA

Business fights neighbors, zoning to open doors

Just outside of the Twin Cities sits the community of Stillwater, Minnesota. Like many other suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Stillwater operates with its own city ordinances and community-based rules. It employees a city council to review matters related to its government and recently an interesting zoning issue came up within the town.

A furniture store in the area of the town zoned for business park and office use was acquired by an organization that wanted to turn the structure into an indoor shooting range. In July, Stillwater's city council approved the use with variances and a special use permit. Others within the community have, however, begun to fight to prevent the structure's projected use.

One individual noted that the shooting range, which falls under an amusement and recreational zoning use, should not be permitted in the business park and office use district. She noted that the city council's use of a variance for the indoor shooting facility may not abide by the regulations of the town. Another community member feared that the business would increase traffic, put citizens in danger and create other problems related to noise issues and depressed property values.

The city council of Stillwater is set to review the matter again in a public hearing later this month. Residents will have the opportunity to voice their concerns and to advocate for the position regarding the indoor shooting range that they believe is correct.

Zoning and land use issues are not always straightforward, as demonstrated by this local story. Individuals who wish to better understand how zoning regulations may affect their potential uses of their properties may wish to explore their legal real estate and property rights.

Source: Star Tribune, "Stillwater City Council to address shooting range dispute," Todd Nelson, July 31, 2015

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