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Stearns County Judge Orders New Lake Home to be Torn Down

PHOTOS: Larger photo --  Tom and Holly Ruether. Inset -- Stearns County website.
PHOTOS:  Tom and Holly Ruether (color photo); Stearns County website (inset).

ROCKVILLE — A Stearns County judge has ruled that a brand new lake home has to be torn down, after a neighbor filed a lawsuit against the owners. According to court documents, Kathleen Mimbach and Matt Mimbach began the project on their property on Grand Lake in Rockville in November of 2015.

Building permits filed with the city called it “a remodel with a new addition.” However, their next-door neighbors to the north, Thomas and Holly Ruether, say what actually happened was a teardown of the entire structure and building a brand new, much larger home.

It became apparent very early on that the size and the scope of the Mimbach’s project far exceeded what they applied for with the city, and what the zoning ordinances allow.

Court documents say the Mimbachs applied for building permits in April of 2015 for a remodel and new addition for a total cost of $75,000. However, the entire previous structure was actually torn down, and a new two-story home was built, for much more than $75,000.

The Ruether’s lawyer, Harry Burns, says his clients’ property has decreased in value, and they aren’t enjoying their home like they did at first.

They don’t use their property like they used to. They don’t go out on their deck. They feel like they’re being looked down on.

Burns says the judge’s ruling to tear down the home is fair.

At first blush it might seem like a harsh result, but if you read the judge’s order, it’s pretty clear that she found the Mimbach’s knew they were encroaching early on, they were advised that they were encroaching early on.  At the very early stages it was suggested to them by several people that they should hold off.

Burns says the new two-story home infringes on both side yards as well as the lake setback.

Last Wednesday, Judge Vicki Landwehr issued her ruling against the Mimbachs. Their lawyer, Thomas Jovanovich, says the case is still pending and that he and his clients disagree with the judge’s order. He says they’ll be filing additional motions, and it is likely that they will appeal.

Burns says a lawsuit was filed against the city of Rockville as well for not enforcing the building permits, but the judge released the city from the lawsuit.

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The view from Tom and Holly Ruether's living room. (PHOTO: Tom and Holly Ruether)
The view from Tom and Holly Ruether’s living room. (PHOTO: Tom and Holly Ruether)

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