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MN Supreme Court won't rule in Winona home rental case

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has turned aside a chance to rule on whether cities can restrict the concentration of rental properties.

The court said homeowners who challenged a so-called 30 percent rule in Winona, Minn., have sold their homes or secured rental licenses and now lack an interest in the outcome.

"We're very disappointed that the Supreme Court did not think that this was an important enough issue to answer, and that's whether or not you can forbid someone from living in a perfectly safe home just because they are a renter," said Anthony Sanders, the homeowners' attorney.

Winona's city council passed the limit in 2005 to control a high concentration of rentals near the Winona State University campus. The Minnesota Court of Appeals last year upheld the ordinance. The 30-percent rule means that on a block with 10 homes, only three can receive rental certificates.

Other Minnesota cities have enacted similar restrictions, including Mankato, Northfield and West. St. Paul.

"We believe it's a way for our neighborhoods to continue to be viable, good mixed neighborhoods with both homeowner and rental units in them," Winona City Manager Judy Bodway said of the ruling that leaves the city's current rule in effect.