Christopher J. Strandlie
Minnesota Attorney General Opinions
August 12, 2003
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,
County Attorney’s Office
you for your correspondence of May 29, 2003.
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. 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.
answer your question in the negative.
History and Discussion of Relevant Laws.
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).
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)."
have also been authorized to employ various mechanisms to...