Wellston Fire Protection Dist. of St. Louis County v. State Bank & Trust Co. of Wellston, No. 29246

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtMATTHES; SAM C. BLAIR and FRANKLIN FERRISS
Citation282 S.W.2d 171
Docket NumberNo. 29246
Decision Date20 September 1955
PartiesWELLSTON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY, a Municipal Corporation, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. STATE BANK AND TRUST COMPANY OF WELLSTON, a Corporation, Defendant, City of Wellston, a Municipal Corporation, Defendant-Appellant, Leo J. Hayes and Myron Stiles, Defendants.

Page 171

282 S.W.2d 171
WELLSTON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY, a
Municipal Corporation, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
STATE BANK AND TRUST COMPANY OF WELLSTON, a Corporation,
Defendant, City of Wellston, a Municipal
Corporation, Defendant-Appellant, Leo J.
Hayes and Myron Stiles, Defendants.
No. 29246.
St. Louis Court of Appeals, Missouri.
Sept. 20, 1955.
Motion for Rehearing or for Transfer to Supreme Court Denied
Oct. 13, 1955.

Page 173

T. Douglas Moore, Clayton, for Wellston Fire Protection Dist. of St. Louis County, a Municipal Corporation, plaintiff-respondent.

Wm. J. Becker, Clayton, for City of Wellston, a Municipal Corporation, defendant-appellant.

Paul Taub, Overland, for West Overland Fire Protection Dist. of St. Louis County, amicus curiae.

Detjen & Detjen, Clayton, for Affton Fire Protection Dist., a Municipal Corporation, amicus curiae.

MATTHES, Judge.

The City of Wellston has appealed from the judgment of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri, in this action for a declaratory judgment. Wellston Fire Protection District instituted this suit to obtain a judgment, (1) construing the authority, rights, and obligations of the parties by virtue of a controversy existing between them; (2) that Section 321.220, RSMo 1949, Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes authorizes and permits said district to regulate by ordinance all construction of structures and buildings within the confines of said district; (3) that Ordinance No. 1 adopted by the Wellston Fire Protection District is valid and within the scope of the powers and authority granted fire protection districts by Chapter 321 RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S.; (4) enjoining defendants Hayes and Stiles, the police, and other agents and officers of the City of Wellston from interfering with lawful activities of the plaintiff. For the sake of convenience and brevity we shall hereinafter refer to the City of Wellston as appellant or city, and the Wellston Fire Protection District as respondent or district.

The separate answers of the appellant and the two individual defendants put in issue the right and authority of respondent to exercise any control over the construction of buildings or structures situated within the limits of the city, alleging that the city has exclusive authority by virtue of Section 77.500 RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S., to regulate and control such construction for any and all purposes.

The issues were submitted upon a stipulation of facts, certain documentary evidence, and the depositions of two witnesses. Pertinent to the disposition of this case are the following facts:

Respondent was duly organized as a fire protection district pursuant to Chapter 321 RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S., the decree of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri, incorporating the district having been entered March 31, 1950. The district includes an unincorporated area, the Cities of Pagedale, Greendale, and Wellston, and the Villages of Hanley Hills, Hillsdale, and Vinita Terrace, none of which has fire protection facilities. Wellston became a municipal corporation, particularly a city of the third class, on June 6, 1949, and on June 13, 1949, enacted an ordinance whereby it attempted to adopt the building code of St. Louis County. It is further disclosed by the stipulation that the defendant bank sought and obtained a permit from the city for construction of a new bank building in the city. It refused to apply for a permit from respondent. After construction commenced, respondent posted 'work stoppage notices' around the building in the process of construction, which were removed by the building commissioner and police of the city. Respondent's deputy fire marshal was arrested by the city police. And it is further revealed that the appellant, through its officers, advised the defendant bank that the ordinance of respondent was void and ineffective, and that

Page 174

it should be ignored. Following that controversy this action ensued.

The trial court found and declared that Section 321.220 RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S., does not authorize respondent to regulate by ordinance all construction of all structures and buildings within the district; that respondent's right of regulation is limited 'to such phases and portions of construction as directly involve fire hazards', further finding that the first paragraph of Section 102 of Ordinance No. 1 of respondent is a proper exercise of the authority extended the district by law. Injunctive relief was denied.

After the cause reached this court, leave was granted the Affton Fire Protection District and the West Overland Fire Protection District, both of St. Louis County, to appear as amicus curiae, and pursuant thereto counsel representing said districts have favored us with helpful briefs bearing upon the questions presented.

The controversy resulted from a dispute between the city and the district respecting the right to regulate and control the construction of buildings and other structures in the city for fire protection purposes. It has been the position of the appellant as disclosed by the stipulation of facts, and it still vigorously contends, that the city has the exclusive right, through the adoption of proper ordinances, to regulate and control the construction of buildings for any and all purposes; that the district, in so far as property in the city is concerned, is relegated to the sole function of fighting fires, and has no authority, express or implied, to control and regulate buildings and structures for the purpose of preventing fires. The district has maintained and now insists that by virtue of the provisions of the fire protection district statute enacted in 1947, it is vested with the exercise of police power to not only combat fires, but to enact ordinances for the prevention of and protection from fires and that this right applies to property within municipal corporations which are a part of the district. However, no exception was taken by the district to the action of the court in denying injunctive relief, therefore that phase of the case has been abandoned.

In order to resolve the dispute which we have concluded presents a justiciable controversy within the meaning of the declaratory judgment act, Section 527.010 et seq. RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S., it is necessary to construe the act authorizing creation of and granting powers to fire protection districts, and we must also determine the effect of the adoption of the fire protection district law upon Section 77.500, upon which the city relies as the basic authority for the exclusive right to adopt ordinances regulating and controlling the construction of buildings for any and all...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 practice notes
  • Garrard v. State Dept. of Public Health and Welfare, No. 8202
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 6 Enero 1964
    ...Co., Mo.App., 287 S.W.2d 98, 104(8); Wellston Fire Protection Dist. of St. Louis County v. State Bank & Trust Co. of Wellston, Mo.App., 282 S.W.2d 171, 174(4). As our Supreme Court, en banc, sagely observed in State ex inf. Kamp ex rel. Rodgers v. Pretended Cons. School Dist. No. 1 of Montg......
  • Paulus v. City of St. Louis, Nos. 33126
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 16 Septiembre 1969
    ...174 Mo.App. 501, 160 S.W. 537; Wellston Fire Protection District of St. Louis County v. State Bank & Trust Company of Wellston, Mo.App., 282 S.W.2d 171; Kansas City v. School District of Kansas City, 356 Mo. 364, 201 S.W.2d 930; and Community Fire Protection District of St. Louis County v. ......
  • Mathison v. Public Water Supply Dist. No. 2 of Jackson County, No. 51819
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 14 Marzo 1966
    ...for its position, defendant cites Wellston Fire Protection District of St. Louis County v. State Bank and Trust Co. of Wellston, Mo.App., 282 S.W.2d 171, and other cases. We have read and studied those cases; they do not support defendant's position; on the contrary, their basic reasoning s......
  • Easy Living Mobile Manor, Inc. v. Eureka Fire Protection Dist., No. 35397
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 9 Julio 1974
    ...the exercise of police power upon a municipal corporation is unquestioned. Wellston Fire Protection Dist. v. State Bank & Trust Co., 282 S.W.2d 171, 176 (Mo.App.1955). In the Wellston case the court said: '. . . All of which render inescapable the conclusion that the Legislature intended to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Garrard v. State Dept. of Public Health and Welfare, No. 8202
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 6 Enero 1964
    ...Co., Mo.App., 287 S.W.2d 98, 104(8); Wellston Fire Protection Dist. of St. Louis County v. State Bank & Trust Co. of Wellston, Mo.App., 282 S.W.2d 171, 174(4). As our Supreme Court, en banc, sagely observed in State ex inf. Kamp ex rel. Rodgers v. Pretended Cons. School Dist. No. 1 of Montg......
  • Paulus v. City of St. Louis, Nos. 33126
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 16 Septiembre 1969
    ...174 Mo.App. 501, 160 S.W. 537; Wellston Fire Protection District of St. Louis County v. State Bank & Trust Company of Wellston, Mo.App., 282 S.W.2d 171; Kansas City v. School District of Kansas City, 356 Mo. 364, 201 S.W.2d 930; and Community Fire Protection District of St. Louis County v. ......
  • Mathison v. Public Water Supply Dist. No. 2 of Jackson County, No. 51819
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 14 Marzo 1966
    ...for its position, defendant cites Wellston Fire Protection District of St. Louis County v. State Bank and Trust Co. of Wellston, Mo.App., 282 S.W.2d 171, and other cases. We have read and studied those cases; they do not support defendant's position; on the contrary, their basic reasoning s......
  • Easy Living Mobile Manor, Inc. v. Eureka Fire Protection Dist., No. 35397
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 9 Julio 1974
    ...the exercise of police power upon a municipal corporation is unquestioned. Wellston Fire Protection Dist. v. State Bank & Trust Co., 282 S.W.2d 171, 176 (Mo.App.1955). In the Wellston case the court said: '. . . All of which render inescapable the conclusion that the Legislature intended to......
  • 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