City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, No. SC 88647.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtMary R. Russell
Citation249 S.W.3d 202
PartiesCITY OF ARNOLD, Appellant, v. Homer TOURKAKIS, et al., Respondents.
Decision Date18 March 2008
Docket NumberNo. SC 88647.
249 S.W.3d 202
CITY OF ARNOLD, Appellant,
v.
Homer TOURKAKIS, et al., Respondents.
No. SC 88647.
Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc.
March 18, 2008.
Rehearing Denied April 29, 2008.

[249 S.W.3d 203]

Gerard T. Carmody, Kelley F. Farrell, Kameron W. Murphy, JoAnn T. Sandifer, St. Louis, Robert K. Sweeney, Hillsboro, for Appellant.

Timothy S. Sandefur, James S. Burling, Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento, CA, Tracy Hunsaker Gilroy, Michael A. Wolff, Michael F. Barnes, Robert D. Vieth, Jovita M. Foster, Armstron Teasdale, LLP, David P. Abernathy, John F. Medler, Jr., Kenneth C. Jones, St. Louis, William C. Dodson, Imperial, Marc B. Fried, Dennis J. Kehm, Jr., Office of the County Counselor, Hillsboro, for Respondents.

Howard C. Wright, Jr., Springfield, Amicus Curiae for Missouri Municipal League, et al.

Jennifer Z. Roland, David E. Roland, St. Louis Amicus Curiae for Show-Me Institute.

Marc H. Ellinger, Jefferson City, Amicus Curiae for National Federation of Independent Business Legal Foundation.

Robert W. Gall, William H. Mellor, Scott Bullock, Arlington, VA, Paul A. Martin, St. Louis, Ronald J. Eisenberg, Chesterfield, Counsel for the Institute for Justice and The Office of the Ombudsman for Property Rights.

MARY R. RUSSELL, Judge.


The question in this case is whether the City of Arnold ("the City"), a non-charter city, is authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain. This Court holds that article VI, section 21 of the Missouri constitution and relevant statutes permit the City to do so. The judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded.1

Homer and Julie Tourkakis ("Landowners") own a residential building located in Arnold that was converted into a dentist's office. The Arnold City Council adopted ordinances declaring Landowners' property and the surrounding area to be blighted

249 S.W.3d 204

pursuant to the Missouri Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act ("TIF Act") and approved a redevelopment plan for the area. The City then began acquiring properties in the redevelopment area. After Landowners refused to sell their property, the City sought to acquire it by eminent domain. The City, a third class city, filed a petition stating that it was exercising its power of eminent domain under section 99.820, RSMo 2000,2 a part of the TIF Act, as well as other statutes.3 Landowners moved to dismiss the City's action, arguing that since the City was a non-charter city, it lacked the authority to use eminent domain for redevelopment purposes and that any statute granting such power violated article VI, section 21 of the Missouri constitution. They allege the constitutional provision only permits constitutional charter cities and counties to utilize eminent domain to condemn property to eliminate blight and effectuate redevelopment plans.

After briefing and oral argument, the trial court dismissed the City's condemnation petition with prejudice, finding that the City did not have the power to exercise eminent domain to condemn blighted property. Specifically, the trial court stated it did "not believe that the Missouri Constitution allows a taking [of private property through eminent domain] by the City." It further held that "the [City] lacks constitutional authority to take the property of defendants under Chapter 99 and that to the extent Chapter 99 is inconsistent with Article 6, Section 21 of the Constitution of 1945, it is declared unconstitutional." The City now appeals. Since this action involves the validity of state statutes, this Court has exclusive jurisdiction over this appeal. MO. CONST. art. V, sec. 3.

I. Standard of Review

The standard of review for constitutional challenges to a statute is de novo. Hodges v. City of St. Louis, 217 S.W.3d 278, 279 (Mo. banc 2007). Likewise, this Court reviews a trial court's interpretation of the Missouri constitution de novo. StopAquila.org v. City of Peculiar, 208 S.W.3d 895, 899 (Mo. banc 2006). A statute is presumed to be valid and will not be declared unconstitutional unless it clearly contravenes some constitutional provision. Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833, 841 (Mo. banc 2006).

II. Validity of the TIF Act

The City asserts that the trial court erred in dismissing its condemnation action in that condemnation is authorized under the TIF Act because it allows the City to condemn property for the redevelopment of blighted areas. Additionally, the City contends that article VI, section 21 of the Missouri constitution confirms, rather than limits, the legislature's inherent power to authorize the use of eminent domain for the clearance of blighted areas. The City also argues that chapter 99 is not unconstitutional because it is not inconsistent with article VI, section 21.

The legislature has the right to authorize the exercise of the sovereign power of eminent domain. Bd. of Regents for Ne. Mo. State Teachers Coll. v. Palmer, 356 Mo. 946, 204 S.W.2d 291, 294 (1947). Unless restricted by the constitution, the power is unlimited and practically absolute. State ex inf. Danforth v. State

249 S.W.3d 205

Envtl. Improvement Auth., 518 S.W.2d 68, 72 (Mo. banc 1975).

The TIF Act, enacted in 1982, allows urban renewal of blighted areas by permitting tax abatements to be used for the redevelopment of these areas. It is codified within chapter 99 and authorizes "municipalities" to utilize eminent domain to take private property to facilitate redevelopment.4

Municipalities, under the TIF Act, are permitted to adopt a redevelopment plan for areas that are blighted and to use eminent domain to acquire property within the redevelopment area. Sections 99.805(1); 99.810.1(1), RSMo 2000. The utilization of eminent domain, however, is "subject to any constitutional limitations." Section 99.820.1(3). The trial court found that such a constitutional...

To continue reading

Request your trial
7 practice notes
  • Committee for Educational Equality v. State, No. SC 89010.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 1, 2009
    ...and the trial court's interpretation of the Missouri Constitution are questions of law given de novo review. City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008). Legislative acts are entitled to deference, and this Court must give these acts any reasonable construction to avoid......
  • St. Louis Cnty. v. River Bend Estates Homeowners' Ass'n, No. SC 92470.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 10, 2013
    ...the Missouri Constitution. “The standard of review for constitutional challenges to a statute is de novo.” City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008). Statutes are presumed to be constitutional. State v. Young, 362 S.W.3d 386, 390 (Mo. banc 2012). “This Court will not ......
  • R.W. v. H.P.A. (In re E.R.V.A.), WD 84222
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • March 30, 2021
    ...reviewed de novo. " Mo. Veterinary Med. Bd. v. Gray , 397 S.W.3d 479, 481 (Mo. App. W.D. 2013) (citing City of Arnold v. Tourkakis , 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008) ). "The constitutional validity and construction of state statutes are also reviewed de novo. " Id. (citing......
  • State v. Biggs, No. SC 90775.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 1, 2011
    ...to Section 491.075 The constitutional validity of a statute is a question of law to be reviewed de novo. City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008). Section 491.075 allows the hearsay statements of a minor less than 14 to be admitted as substantive evidence if: (1) Def......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Committee for Educational Equality v. State, No. SC 89010.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 1, 2009
    ...and the trial court's interpretation of the Missouri Constitution are questions of law given de novo review. City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008). Legislative acts are entitled to deference, and this Court must give these acts any reasonable construction to avoid......
  • St. Louis Cnty. v. River Bend Estates Homeowners' Ass'n, No. SC 92470.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 10, 2013
    ...the Missouri Constitution. “The standard of review for constitutional challenges to a statute is de novo.” City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008). Statutes are presumed to be constitutional. State v. Young, 362 S.W.3d 386, 390 (Mo. banc 2012). “This Court will not ......
  • R.W. v. H.P.A. (In re E.R.V.A.), WD 84222
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • March 30, 2021
    ...reviewed de novo. " Mo. Veterinary Med. Bd. v. Gray , 397 S.W.3d 479, 481 (Mo. App. W.D. 2013) (citing City of Arnold v. Tourkakis , 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008) ). "The constitutional validity and construction of state statutes are also reviewed de novo. " Id. (citing......
  • State v. Biggs, No. SC 90775.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 1, 2011
    ...to Section 491.075 The constitutional validity of a statute is a question of law to be reviewed de novo. City of Arnold v. Tourkakis, 249 S.W.3d 202, 204 (Mo. banc 2008). Section 491.075 allows the hearsay statements of a minor less than 14 to be admitted as substantive evidence if: (1) Def......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT