Back to the Mar-Apr 2019 issue

Can the City Require a Driver’s License for Certain Special Vehicles?

Special Vehicles

Q: Our city permits golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, and other utility vehicles on city roads. May we require permit holders to have a valid driver’s license?

LMC: Minnesota Statutes, section 169.045 provides that a city may adopt an ordinance permitting the operation of golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, utility task vehicles, and mini-trucks on designated city roads. Driver’s license requirements apply to permitted operators of mini-trucks, but not to permitted operators of golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, or utility task vehicles.

The city may, however, require permit applicants to submit a certificate from a physician stating that the applicant is able to safely operate the special vehicle on city streets. In addition, the special vehicle must be insured, and the permit applicant must provide evidence of insurance before a permit is granted.

The statute has other mandatory provisions, including specific operating requirements and a requirement that the city designate the roads where special vehicles are allowed. The city may place other conditions on permits if they are not inconsistent with state law. More information, including links to two model ordinances, is available in the LMC information memo at www.lmc.org/spclvehicles.

Answered by Research Attorney Kevin Toskey: ktoskey@lmc.org

Land Use

Q:Why are regulations and fees for developers so different from city to city?

LMC: Subdivision regulations vary from city to city because each city has different development and planning goals, which are tailored to the unique attributes of their community. For example, one city may value preservation of agricultural space, while another city values the creation of affordable housing. Some fees are required to be based on the appraised value of the land, which is an additional reason why they can be different from city to city and even from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Cities can require a written contract known as a “development agreement.” Development agreements are negotiated between the city and developer and detail the fees and specifications of the project. This give and take can ultimately reflect the unique characteristics of the project and can provide flexibility in fees and requirements. Regardless, statutory cities are not allowed to require a cash fee for the construction of future road improvements as part of a development agreement. For more information, visit www.lmc.org/development.

Answered by Loss Control Attorney Jed Burkett: jburkett@lmc.org

Human Resources

Q: Medical marijuana has been legal in Minnesota since 2014. What if one of our employees holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) tests positive and is able to show that he or she is using the drug legally under Minnesota law?

LMC: The federal agency responsible for enforcing drug testing of CDL holders, the Department of Transportation (DOT), has stated on record that it remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to drug testing under DOT regulations to use marijuana, whether or not the usage is legal under state law. Minnesota’s medical cannabis law prohibits discrimination against employees using medical cannabis legally; however, there is an exception when the usage would violate federal law or regulations. Keep in mind, though, that testing positive for medical cannabis under Minnesota’s drug testing law for non-CDL holders may be covered by the law’s employment protections, depending on the circumstances.

Whether testing under federal DOT regulations or Minnesota state law, the use of medical cannabis remains an emerging area of the law, and cities are strongly advised to work with their city attorney on any employment situations in this area. Learn more from the LMC information memo at www.lmc.org/drugtest.

Answered by Human Resources Director Laura Kushner: lkushner@lmc.org