St. Louis County appealed a judgment awarding property owners damages from the taking of their real properties by eminent domain. The County claimed the judgment should have been reversed because the trial record was inadequate for appellate review because portions were inaudible or not recorded. Further, the County claimed the trial court abused its discretion in its evidentiary rulings and that the verdict was excessive and unsupported by the evidence. Upon review, the Supreme Court found no error, and that the verdict was supported by sufficient evidence. Therefore, the Court affirmed the trial court's judgment. View "St. Louis County vs. River Bend Estates Homeowners' Association" on Justia Law
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Missouri Supreme Court, Real Estate & Property Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use
The City of St. Louis passed ordinances authorizing a redevelopment plan proposed by Northside Regeneration. Plaintiffs filed a petition requesting a preliminary judgment to prevent the City and Northside from moving forward with the redevelopment plan. The trial court denied the request and set the case for trial. Intervenors subsequently intervened and filed a petition for declaratory judgment alleging that the redevelopment plan was in violation of and contrary to conditions set forth in Mo. Rev. Stat. 99.820, et seq. The trial court entered a declaratory judgment voiding the ordinances that authorized a tax increment financing plan to redevelop the property. The judgment declared the ordinances void because of the lack of a defined redevelopment project and cost-benefit analysis of such projects. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the judgment to the extent that it invalidated the ordinances for failure to include a sufficiently specific redevelopment project or a cost-benefit analysis of such projects, as the judgment went beyond the scope of the pleadings; and (2) affirmed the judgment in all other respects. View "Smith v. City of St. Louis" on Justia Law
A developer attempted to plat a new subdivision within an existing subdivision, and sought the County's approval to use Bridle Parc Lane (BP Lane) as a public road. Several owners of lots in the subdivision brought an action against the County asserting that BP Lane could not have been dedicated to public use because the owners of private easements on which BP Lane was situated had never consented to the dedication. The circuit court entered a judgment declaring BP Lane to be a private road. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs' action was not barred by the ten-year limitation period provided in Mo. Rev. Stat. 516.010; and (2) BP Lane did not become a public road through statutory dedication, common law dedication and the establishment of a prescriptive easement. View "Bateman v. Platte County" on Justia Law
Laclede Gas Company maintained gas lines along Pitman Hill Road in St. Charles County. Pitman Hill Road and the gas lines were located within areas established as public roads on five recorded subdivision plats. Each of the subdivision plats first established public roads and then designated the roads as utility easements. The plats specifically stated that one of the purposes of the utility easements was for the installation and maintenance of gas lines. The County planned to widen Pitman Hill Road, which required Laclede to relocate its gas lines. Laclede declined to pay for the relocation, after which the County filed a declaratory judgment action to require Laclede to bear the cost of relocation. The circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of the County. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the County was required to reimburse Laclede for displacing the gas lines from Laclede's utility easement because the easements were constitutionally cognizable property interests and, therefore, requiring Laclede to relocate its gas lines without compensation would amount to an unconstitutional taking of private property.
Posted in: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Missouri Supreme Court, Real Estate & Property Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use