ORONO — A pretrial hearing for Nancy Edwards didn’t happen as planned Friday. Instead, another count was added to the complaint against her.
“I would have thought they would have wanted to get rid of this whole thing by now. But I thought wrong,” Edwards told Lakeshore Weekly News.
Edwards, 74, has been at the center of a dock controversy involving the city of Orono for the past few months. She lives on Lake Minnetonka’s Crystal Bay and has been renting a room in her home for years, she has said. As part of that agreement, the tenant is allowed to dock his boat at her slip.
But the city of Orono accused her of renting out her dock, and she was charged with a misdemeanor. Her attorney, Erick Kaardal, filed a motion to dismiss the charge, arguing Edwards isn’t renting out the dock and she meets the one-boat-per-dock rule set by the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District.
A pretrial hearing in the case was scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30. But that hearing didn’t happen. Instead, Edwards and Kaardal found out she faces a new charge of rental dwelling violation, a misdemeanor.
Edwards, who was joined by four supporters at court on Friday, said she was “nervous” Friday morning “but more nervous now than when I came in.”
Because Kaardal wasn’t prepared to argue this new charge at Friday’s hearing, a new hearing has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 16 at Ridgedale Regional Service Center, 12601 Ridgedale Drive in Minnetonka.
Kaardal plans to file a motion to dismiss the new charge in the next few weeks, saying Edwards should be grandfathered into the city ordinance so she didn’t need to get a rental license.
“Our point is we’ve been doing it for a very long time, before they required rental licenses, and that’s called a grandfathered use,” Kaardal said.
“It’s a little gimmicky for them to file a charge when there’s a known grandfathered use. It’s manipulation of the system,” Kaardal said. “They haven’t explained in the charge that this was a use that preexists the ordinance that they’re charging under … the city of Orono doesn’t understand the law of grandfathered uses and they need to learn that so they can be more fair to their citizens.”
Lakeshore Weekly News has reached out to the prosecutor, Peter MacMillan, for comment.