Third-class non-charter cities do not have the power to use eminent domain to eliminate blight.
North Kansas City (City), Missouri, is a third-class non-charter city with a population between 4,000 and 5,000. K. C. Beaton Holding Company (K. C. Beaton) owns property in North Kansas City. The property in question is located in a 57-acre area known as the Armour Road Site, which the City sought to redevelop in an effort to remove blight The City enacted a general ordinance authorizing the acquisition of each parcel of land within the blighted area. After acquiring all the properties except the one owned by K. C. Beaton, another specific ordinance was passed authorizing the City to acquire that property through eminent domain. The latter ordinance stated that the rehabilitation of the blighted area was a necessary public purpose.
When K. C. Beaton did not accept the City's $850,000 offer for the property, the City filed suit to acquire it through eminent domain. The circuit court sustained K. C. Beaton's motion to dismiss, ruling that the City did not have the authority to condemn the property for the public purpose of eliminating blight. The City appealed the decision.
On appeal, the City argued that it had the power to condemn the property as Missouri law provides that a third-class city may take private property for public use for any necessary public purposes. The appellate court rejected this argument because, under the Missouri Constitution, the legislature must enact laws expressly granting or necessarily implying that non-charter cities have the authority to "utilize eminent domain to eliminate blighted areas" for such authority to exist. The appellate court found that the general authority provided to such cities to condemn property for any necessary public purposes neither expressly grants nor necessarily implies that third-class non-charter cities have the power to use eminent domain to eliminate blight. The appellate court affirmed the circuit court's judgment dismissing the condemnation proceeding.
North Kansas City v. K. C. Beaton Holding Co.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District
January 14, 2014
417 S.W.3d 825
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|Date:||Sep 22, 2014|
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