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Suiter v. City Council of City of Princeton

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

RICKIE ALLEN SUITER and DARLENE MARIE SUITER, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PRINCETON, IOWA, Defendant-Appellee

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Marlita A. Greve, Judge. The plaintiffs appeal from the district court's ruling entering summary judgment in favor of the defendant.

John T. Flynn of Brubaker, Flynn & Darland, P.C., Davenport, for appellants.

Michael C. Walker and Samuel R. Bailey of Hopkins & Huebner, P.C., Davenport, for appellee.

Heard by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

OPINION

DOYLE, J.

Rick and Darlene Suiter appeal from the district court's ruling entering summary judgment in favor of the City Council of the City of Princeton (" the City" ) on their petition for writ of certiorari, in which the Suiters claimed certain action of the City was illegal. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

The Suiters own riverfront property in Princeton. Their property is bounded on the east by the Mississippi River and on the west by South River Drive, a north-south street. At issue in this appeal is the City's action concerning a parcel of " undeveloped green space" that abuts the Suiters' property to the north. This parcel is also bounded on the east by the Mississippi River and on the west by South River Drive.[1] The parcel is zoned " R-1 Single Family Residential." A rudimentary survey[2] of the property is shown below:

There is some history between the Suiters and the City, and this is not the first time these parties have appeared before this court in litigation over the disputed property. In Suiter v. City of Princeton, No. 01-1314, 2003 WL 1785903, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Apr. 4, 2003), we laid out the following factual background:

The Suiters purchased their tract of property in 1994. Rick Suiter testified that he knew since 1994 that he did not have a deed conveying to him title to the real estate running all the way up to the southern boundary of Dawson's property. The Suiters, Dawson, and other neighbors used the disputed tract. In 1992 the City considered the disputed tract for potential use as a small park. In early to mid-2000 the City again discussed turning the disputed tract into a public park. The City then put up an orange barricade on the disputed tract.
The Suiters filed a petition for quiet title of real estate and requested a temporary injunction. The trial court ruled in favor of the City and quieted title to the disputed tract in the City. The trial court ruled that (1) the disputed tract is not subject to the public trust doctrine, (2) the doctrine of acquiescence is not applicable, (3) the Suiters have shown no affirmative actions by the City indicating an intent to abandon the disputed property, and (4) the Suiters ...

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