Yesterday’s decision from the Missouri Supreme Court answered a really important question for those involved in eminent domain disputes in the state, namely do smaller cities without a charter in Missouri have the power of eminent domain? Missouri’s TIF Act gives the power of eminent domain for private economic development to chartered cities. Arnold is not one of those chartered cities, so what the state Supreme Court did was expand the bounds of the TIF Act’s eminent domain provisions.
According to Timothy Sandefur, Tourkakis’s attorney, the justices answered that entire argument with a single sentence: “The City is authorized under several statutes including the TIF Act, to exercise eminent domain.”
The Pacific Legal Foundation’s press release also says that there was one dissenting justice who agreed with Dr. Tourkakis that non-chartered cities were not given the power of eminent domain under the TIF Act. A trial court had earlier ruled just that.
According to the AP report, nearly two-thirds of Missouri citizens can now be threatened with eminent domain for private development. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also explains the differences between a chartered and non-chartered city in Missouri.
The repercussions of the decision will be felt throughout the state, especially in small towns like Sugar Creek, located on the other side of the state outside of Kansas City. KMBC-TV has a story and video on the reaction Penelope Marth, who is trying to hold on to the home her father built, which, if condemned, would become the produce section of the proposed grocery store.
In another eminent domain related situation, the Bailey family of Richmond Heights is still waiting for the developer to come around. The article has disappeared from the Suburban Journals site, but here’s quick summary of the situation from the article:
“This is our home,” Jo Ann said. “My husband and I worked hard for this.”The Baileys are among hundreds of residents of Hadley Township who would be forced out to make way for a $190 million development that would include a hotel, stores, offices, condos and about 150 new homes. The Baileys said they fought losing their house until a year ago, when they accepted an offer from the developer. They were supposed to close on the property in November. They are still waiting for their money.
With the Arnold decision, there could be a lot more families like the Baileys in the future.