Legal Memorandum: Interpretation of "Open Space" in MN

Issue: Under Minnesota law, with respect to the regulation of mobile home parks, what is the interpretation of ‘open space’ adjacent to mobile homes?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State)
Keywords: Open space; Mobile home; An undeveloped space available for multiple uses
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 754 N.W.2d 386; 270 N.W. 570
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 10/01/2014

“Open space” generally refers to an undeveloped space available for multiple uses.” See City of St. Paul v. State of Minn. Dept. of Revenue, 754 N.W.2d 386, 389 (Minn. Ct. App. 2008). 

Thus, properly interpreted, “open space” can include many multiple uses that constitute a temporary or transitory use of the space, including uses occurring regularly such as: children playing, families picnicking, or sitting on lawn chairs; riding skateboards, bikes or trikes; grilling meals; and even the regular but temporary placement of outdoor furniture, grills or children’s pools, or the parking of scooters, bikes, motorcycles or automobiles and such uses do not destroy the space’s character as “open space” because they are temporary uses and any persons or objects in the space are easily removed.  Indeed, the Minnesota Supreme Court recognizes that the term “parking” can mean “[t]o stop and keep (a vehicle, esp. a motor vehicle) or to leave temporarily . . . in any open space, esp. in a space assigned for the occupancy of a number of automobiles.”  Hartwell v. Progressive Transp. Co., 270 N.W. 570, 573 (Minn. 1936).   


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