Kansas City v. Scarritt

Decision Date26 February 1895
Citation29 S.W. 845,127 Mo. 642
CourtMissouri Supreme Court
PartiesKANSAS CITY v. SCARRITT et al.<SMALL><SUP>1</SUP></SMALL>

Proceedings by the city of Kansas City, on the relation and to the use of the North Park District, against Nathan Scarritt and others, to condemn land for park purposes. On the circuit, judgment was rendered for plaintiff, and defendants appeal. Reversed.

W. C. Scarritt and J. K. Griffith, for appellants. D. J. Haff, C. S. Palmer, and C. O. Tichenor, for respondent.

BARCLAY, J.

This is a proceeding, begun June 7, 1894, to subject to public use for a park a tract of some 60 acres of land in Kansas City, Mo. The plaintiff is "Kansas City, at the relation and to the use of the North Park District." The defendants are Mr. Nathan Scarritt and a number of other parties, owning parts of or interests in the land sought to be taken for the park. The trial court found for the plaintiff, and entered judgment of condemnation, from which certain of the defendants appealed, after the usual preliminaries.

The proceeding is grounded upon the provisions of an act approved April 1, 1893, entitled, "An act empowering every city in this state which is now or may hereafter be organized under and by virtue of the provisions of section 16, article 9, of the constitution of this state, to establish and maintain for such city a system of parks and boulevards, to be under the control and management of a board known as Board of Park and Boulevard Commissioners, and defining the powers and duties of such commissioners." Laws 1893, p. 43. The objections to the result reached on the circuit do not refer to any matters of detail in the condemnation suit. They go deeper, and question the validity of the whole enactment. It is claimed that the act is not in consonance with the organic law of the state for several reasons, only one of which it is necessary to discuss. The act in view undertakes to confer on every city of the sort indicated by its title certain charter powers for the establishment of a system of parks and boulevards. It opens in this fashion: "Section 1. Every city in this state which is now or may hereafter be organized under the provisions of section 16, article 9, of the constitution of this state, is hereby empowered to establish for such city a system of parks and boulevards, which shall be under the control and management of a board known as Board of Park and Boulevard Commissioners. Said Board of Park and Boulevard Commissioners shall be composed of three freeholders of such city, well known for their intelligence and integrity, who shall be appointed by the Mayor without confirmation, and whose term of office shall continue for a period of three years," etc. The act then provides for the organization of the board, and for replenishing the board from time to time. It declares that the commissioners may, by ordinance of the common council of the city, be paid, out of the general funds of the city, annual salaries ranging from $500 to $1,000. It is made the duty of the proposed board to arrange for a system of parks and boulevards, and to that end to "divide the entire city into two or more park districts." Then follows a variety of details in furtherance of the general design of the act, including an elaborate scheme for the condemnation of private property for public use for parks and boulevards in the city. The proceedings now under review were conducted to judgment in conformity to these features of the act in question. It is unnecessary to go further into the particulars of the act, but its conclusion may well be quoted, viz.: "Sec. 18. The provisions of this act shall not abrogate or impair any right or power which such cities may now or hereafter have, by law, to buy or condemn or otherwise obtain land for parks, roads, boulevards or avenues, or opening, widening or extending the same, or for improvement or maintenance thereof: provided, the powers conferred by this act shall not be in any way impaired or restricted by this section; but this act shall apply to all cities organized under the provisions of section 16, of article 9, of the constitution of this state, any provisions in the charter of any such city to the contrary notwithstanding." The vital objection to this legislation is found in the fourth point of defendants' brief as follows: "The act is inconsistent, and incompatible with the charter amendment in relation to parks and boulevards of Kansas City, adopted February 27, 1892, and violates that provision of the constitution authorizing cities, which elect to do so, to frame their own charters, and establish a local self-government." We must determine the force of this objection. Kansas City is governed by a municipal charter, framed by her own people, in compliance with express authority given by the constitution, namely: "Sec. 16. Large cities may frame their own charters, how. Any city having a population of more than one hundred thousand inhabitants may frame a charter for its own government, consistent with and subject to the constitution and laws of this state, by causing a board of thirteen freeholders, who shall have been for at least five years qualified voters thereof, to be elected by the qualified voters of such city at any general or special election; which board shall, within ninety days after such election, return to the chief magistrate of such city a draft of such charter, signed by the members of such board or a majority of them. Within thirty days thereafter, such proposed charter shall be submitted to the qualified...

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35 cases
  • Owen v. Baer
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • February 20, 1900
    ...Murnane and like cases, is not necessary to the proper disposition of this case. See 41 S. W. 1094, 46 S. W. 976, 42 L. R. A. 686; 29 S. W. 845, 30 S. W. 111; 27 S. W. The legislature of Missouri, in obedience to the plain constitutional mandate contained in section 7, art. 9, of the consti......
  • Peterson v. Chicago & A. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 30, 1915
    ...another case involving this same point, but not decided. Those cited in support of the position here taken by plaintiff are: Kansas City v. Scarritt, 127 Mo. 642, loc. cit. 649, 29 S. W. 845, 30 S. W. 111; State ex rel. v. Telephone Co., 189 Mo. 83, 88 S. W. 41; Kansas City v. Oil Co., 140 ......
  • Owen v. Baer
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • February 20, 1900
    ...but that the people of that city had the exclusive right to amend that charter under section 22 of article 9, as it had been held in the Scarritt case that people of Kansas City had the exclusive right to amend the charter of their city, except always "in respect of those topics which invol......
  • State ex rel. Reynolds v. Jost
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • April 12, 1915
    ... ... year. (4) The commissioner's findings that the ... departments of the city need the sums apportioned to them and ... that the sum of $ 650,000 could not be appropriated to ... departments to shut down are inaccurate and overdrawn. (5) ... The police department of Kansas City is a State agency, not a ... city department. The duty imposed upon respondents to ... Field, 99 Mo. 352; Murnane v. St. Louis, 123 ... Mo. 479; Kansas City ex rel. v. Scarritt, 127 Mo ... 642; Kansas City v. Ward, 134 Mo. 172; Kansas ... City v. Marsh Oil Co., 140 ... ...
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