The right to a nice view?

Witch’s Hat in 1935 Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society A lawsuit in Minneapolis will again test whether you have a right to a view when someone is building near your home.

KSTP reports that a neighborhood group in Prospect Park has filed suit against a developer because the building that would be constructed would limit their view of and from the Prospect Park Water Tower, a.k.a. “the witch’s hat tower.”

It’s the highest natural point in the Twin Cities.

The lawsuit claims the development along University Avenue would obstruct the view toward St. Paul from the tower. From the top, you wouldn’t be able to see the Capitol, the Cathedral of St. Paul, or St. Paul.

The tower, however, is only open once a year for people to scamper up and see what’s to the east. Or wherever.

Says KSTP:

But the lawsuit claims the development would still violate the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, ensuring the right of each person to “the protection, preservation, and enhancement of air, water, land and other natural resources located within the state.”

It claims the Minnesota Supreme Court has determined “the principal criteria used to determine whether a historic building falls under the protection of MERA are the same as those used to determine what buildings are included on the National Register of Historic Places.”

“It’s been deemed historic because of the panoramic view that isn’t available at any other site in the Twin Cities,” Melang said. “There may be some limitations as far as when the public is able to go up in the tower. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was deemed historic for that purpose.

“The other part is the tower is something you can see from all around it. So it’s not just the view out, it’s the view of the tower itself that is extremely important. It’s such a big part of the Minneapolis skyline.”

The developer says the project, on the site of a former SuperAmerica, will make the neighborhood better.

Archive: The view from Prospect Park (MPR News)