Strandlie, 081203 MNAGO, AGO 125a-66

Docket Nº:AGO 125a-66
Case Date:August 12, 2003
Christopher J. Strandlie
AGO 125a-66
No. 125a-66
Minnesota Attorney General Opinions
August 12, 2003
         Counties: Planning and Zoning: Subdivision Regulations: Fees: County may not prevent recording of all land conveyance documents that do not comply with county land use controls and fee requirements. Minn. Stat. §§ 272.12, 272.121, 394.37.          Christopher J. Strandlie          Assistant County Attorney          Cass County Attorney’s Office          PO Box 3000 303          Minnesota Avenue          Walker, MN 56484-3000          Dear Mr. Strandlie:          Thank you for your correspondence of May 29, 2003.          BACKGROUND          You state that the present practice in Cass County is for a land title document to be submitted for recording to the county auditor/treasurer. The auditor/treasurer determines whether there are delinquent taxes owing and whether the document creates a "split" of an existing parcel. If a parcel split is involved, a "split fee" must also be paid. When current taxes and applicable fees are all paid, the document is referred to the county Environmental Services Department which determines whether the transaction is consistent with Cass County zoning regulations and with state requirements pertaining to sewage treatment systems. If all the foregoing requirements are satisfied, the document is submitted to the county recorder. If the foregoing regulations are not satisfied the document is "rejected" and not recorded. The county board is considering enacting an ordinance that would memorialize the current practice.[1] Members of the local bar have expressed the view that the county has no authority to prevent the recording of a document that is in proper form if taxes have been paid in full. You ask whether the county has authority to prohibit the filing of land title documents in circumstances where county-imposed fees have not been paid or where the transaction represented by the documents is not in compliance with authorized county regulations.          We answer your question in the negative.          LAW AND ANALYSIS          1. History and Discussion of Relevant Laws.          First, it is axiomatic that local units of government, including counties and their officers, have only those powers that are granted by the legislature either expressly or by reasonable implication. See, e.g., Cleveland v. Rice Co., 238 Minn. 180, 56 N.W.2d 641 (1952).          Second, counties have been delegated substantial authority to impose official controls upon the use and subdivision of land within the county. See, e.g., Minn. Stat. § 394.25 (2002). In addition, state law requires county adoption and enforcement of particular regulations affecting use and subdivisions of property. See, e.g., Minn. Stat. §§ 103F.211-103F.215 (Shore land Development); 115.55 (2002), and Minn. Rules 7080.0305 (regulation of individual sewage treatment systems)."          Counties have also been authorized to employ various mechanisms to...

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