The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently dealt a major blow to one Twin Cities suburb by essentially invalidating the “major roadway assessment” that Woodbury charged developers of new housing subdivisions. 

Woodbury is not the only community asking developers to bear some or all of the upfront infrastructure costs for new housing and commercial developments, but they were the first to get challenged in court. Developer Martin Harstad sued the city after it attempted to collect $1.4 million for a 183-home development. There are many cities around the state with “street roadway assessments” that may have to end the practice without a change in state statute.

The League of Minnesota Cities has for many years pushed the “Street Assessment fee” bill, which would allow cities to gerrymander street assessment zones for certain projects. The proposal also allowed an assessment to be collected for up to 20 years without it being attached to a particular project.

ICSC and other groups have fought the legislation, which will certainly come back in light of this court decision.

The city of Woodbury hasn’t decided if they will appeal to the State Supreme Court.