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Education SeminarsRegistration atwww.batc.org2010 BATC UniversitySponsor:Lead Paint Rule UpdateAs of February 1, 2011 local building inspection departments inMinnesota will be checking EPA's website before issuing remod-eling permits for pre-1978 housing [MN Statute 326B.106].Contractors must complete the EPA Lead Renovator courseby December 31, 2010.Send your firm certification to the EPA - NOW! You can sendthis in BEFORE you take the class!www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/firmapp.pdfUpcoming Course Dates:Wednesday, October 20Wednesday, December 82011 Continuing EducationWe have a great set of courses coming up this spring. hereare the dates:Wednesday, January 5Tuesday, January 18Thursday, February 10Wednesday, February 16Thursday, February 24 - at the Minneapolis Conv. Center - Builders & Remoders Product & Service ShowThursday, March 10Thursday, March 24 Tuesday, March 29RRoocckk YYoouurr SSaalleess RRaallllyy aatt tthheeBBuuiillddeerrss aanndd RReemmooddeelleerrss PPrroodduucctt && SSeerrvviiccee SShhooww oonn FFeebbrruuaarryy 2244From the 2010 International Builders Show.you don't want to missthese national speakers pumping up the volume! Watch your email for details coming soon!ONGAME Presented by:FEBRUARY 24, 2011Builders & Remodelers

26BUILDERS' DIGEST| OCTOBER-NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2010WWW.BATC.ORGThe Minnesota Supreme Court sent an unwelcome jolt to the res-idential construction industry in a decision that alters the standardfor approving variances; its effect is immediate and dramatic. A vari-ance grants relief from local development regulations, such as set-backs or building limits. Under the new standard virtually no vari-ance can be approved by a city if a reasonable use of the site is pos-sible without the variance. This ruling has immediate application toresidential contractors and developers. Scores of pending varianceapplications, including those for redevelopment of dilapidated ornon-conforming sites, have already been rejected by cities.In Krummenacher v. City of Minnetonka, the Supreme Courtoverturned a variance approved by the city for expansion of a legalnon-conforming residence. The district court and court of appealshad each affirmed the variance. Krummenacher, the adjacentlandowner, challenged the approved variance as illegal. The city,relying on a 20-year old standard, argued that the variance alloweda reasonable use not otherwise allowed by the city's regulations.This standard had been widely followed throughout Minnesota. Minnesota law provides two definitions for use by cities whenconsidering a variance, depending on whether the request arisesunder zoning or subdivision regulations.By statute, a variance from a zoning regula-tion is possible: in instances where strict enforcementwould cause undue hardship because ofcircumstances unique to the individual property under con-sideration, and to grant such variances only when it isdemonstrated that such actions will be in keeping with thespirit and intent of the ordinance. MS 462.357, subd. 6(2)."Undue hardship" is defined to mean that "the property in ques-tion cannot be put to a reasonable use if used under circumstancesallowed by the official controls.." Moreover, "[e]conomic consider-ations alone shall not constitute an undue hardship if reasonableuse for the property exists.." MS 462.357, subd. 6(2). A more flexible variance standard exists under the municipal sub-division statute. Under it, variances are possible "where an unusualhardship on the land exists, but variances may be granted onlyupon the specific grounds set forth in the regulations." MS 462.358,subd. 6. This variance standard was not discussed by the SupremeCourt nor relied on by the city. The Supreme Court read the applicable zoning statute literallyand determined that a reasonable use of the subject property as aresidence already existed under the city's zoning regulations andthat the applicant, in seeking to expand a non-conforming garage,had failed to demonstrate "undue hardship". In reaching its deci-sion, the Supreme Court contrasted the variance language in thezoning statute with yet another variance standard applicable only tocounties. Under this standard, a county can approve a variancewhen the property owner would face "practical difficulties or partic-ular hardship" in meeting "the strict letter of any official control."MS 394.27, subd. 7.While variances have always been difficult to obtain, and arehighly discretionary, the new interpretation by the MinnesotaSupreme Court effectively closes the door on any variance arisingunder a city's zoning regulations; within my firm, numerous clientshave been informed by various cities that their variance applicationsare either being returned or will be denied. It is unclear whether avariance from subdivision regulations remains possible under theseemingly more flexible standards in the subdivision statute, with-out meeting the "undue hardship" standard as interpreted by theSupreme Court. For landowners, developers and builders, the newvariance decision establishes another barrier to overcome in a diffi-cult economy.* Peter Coyle is a shareholder and president of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren,Ltd. Mr. Coyle routinely advises landowners, developers and builders on localand state land use issues, including those involving a variance. New Variance Hurdle Imperils Home ConstructionPUBLIC POLICYBYPETERCOYLE//Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindren, Ltd. //B2BADVERTISINGPlanning next year's budgets?Don't forget toinclude us. We are your direct source to over1,100 builders and associates waiting to hearabout the latest and greatest and the tried-and-true products and services you have tooffer. Don't miss the opportunity to have yourad delivered directly into the hands of yourpotential customers.We offer four issues per year featuringcurrent, industry specific articles with newadvertising opportunities, see our rates atwww.batc.org, click on advertising.For advertising rates and special opportunities visit www.batc.org orcontact Deb (deb@batc.org) or Ruth (ruth@batc.org) at 651-697-1954.