Turns out the city of St. Paul is not joking when it says that collector vehicles must be screened from public view.
John Krenik covered his collector vehicles with tarps and constructed a portable fence across the front of the area where he parked the vehicles, but they were still partially visible. What apparently started as a neighborhood quarrel went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which said that the city’s abatement order saying Krenik’s efforts were insufficient was not unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious.
In a 15-page opinion, the court thoroughly parsed the statute and agreed with the city that the vehicles must be stored so that an onlooker cannot determine whether vehicles are present on the property at all.
Reasonableness prevailed. “[T]he collector-vehicle-storage statute clearly does not require a collector to conceal a vehicle and its outdoor storage area from trespassers on the property or from those flying drones over the property. Rather, by its plain language, the statute only requires screening from members of the public found in typical locations nearby — such as, for instance, pedestrians walking on the sidewalk in front of the property or drivers viewing the property from the street.”