Zoning, Land Use, Platting, Subdivision, Septic, Subdivision and Well Issues

Klun Law is your Minnesota Real Estate Law Firm.   Private development often includes zoning, land use, platting, and subdivision issues.  Our diversified background provides us with the unique ability to resolve even the most complicated issues.  We are prepared to represent individual and business clients’ interests before governmental bodies, including city councils, planning commissions, and economic development authorities.

Septic Inspection

Twenty-five percent of homes have a septic system.  To protect homebuyers from costly and frustrating septic issues, St. Louis County created an ordinance often called a point of sale requirement, states that a home cannot be sold unless one of the following requirements is met:

  • The seller discloses to the buyer that there is not a sewage treatment system on the property
  • The property has a sewage treatment system with a valid certificate of compliance or notice of non-conformity
  • The seller and buyer file a transfer agreement with the St. Louis County Environmental Services Center

If you are a homeowner, it is in your best interest to get a septic inspection often.  A valid certificate of compliance lasts three years, so having the system inspected in a timely manner can save the property owner, a potential property buyer, and other parties a vast amount of time and money.

Well Disclosure

At the time of sale, a homeowner must disclose the status of all wells on the property along with a valid sketch of the location of each well.  In St. Louis County and Lake County a well is not required to be tested or inspected at the time of sale, but often the lending institution may require a well test and inspection in order to protect the buyer.  Often water contaminants are found, leaving the seller distraught and unable to close on a home.  Having well testing and inspections done regularly along with the above mentioned septic testing can truly save a land transaction.

Surveys in Real Estate Transactions

The survey is used to confirm that the real estate described in legal documents is the same real estate that is contemplated by the parties to a transaction. It is used to describe how other real estate interests impact the subject property and to understand their significance The survey is a visual tool used to understand complex real estate interests and that may serve as the basis for a legal claim if the survey is inaccurate, either against the surveyor or a title company.

Does the law supply a right of access to every landlocked parcel?

Not necessarily.  While Minnesota law has established the cartway as a statutory mechanism to provide access where none is otherwise available, this mechanism does not guarantee access in every situation.

The proper body to establish a cartway is the town board or, if the township is unorganized, the board of county commissioners for the county in which the tract to be accessed by the cartway is located.

Two statutes are relevant. Minn. Stat. § 164.08, subd. 1 provides that a cartway may be established in extremely limited circumstances: the cartway cannot be more than one-half mile in length, must be sought by a petition signed by at least five voters who are “freeholders of the town,” must be established on a section line, and must serve a tract of land consisting of at least 150 acres, of which at least 100 are tillable.  By contrast, § 164.08, subd. 2 provides that a cartway shall be established upon petition by the owner of a tract containing at least five acres, and who has no access except over the lands of others, or whose access is less than two rods (33 feet) in width. Subd. 2 also provides that a cartway shall be established upon petition of an owner of a tract that, as of January 1, 1998, was of record as a separate parcel, contains at least two but less than five acres, and otherwise has no access.