Local Government

Paul Martin, Esquire

Missouri Supreme Court to determine whether the “heritage value” enhancement statute unconstitutionally exceeds the “just compensation” to be paid for a government taking. City of Richmond Heights v. Gasway, No. 95791 (Mo. App. E.D., September 20, 2011), Mooney, J.

Richmond Heights condemned Gasway’s home, which she had owned in excess of 25 years. The jury awarded damages of $300,000. The trial court, over the city’s objection, enhanced the award by 25% as a “heritage taking” under Section Section 523.039 and 523.061, RSMo. The city appealed, claiming that the statutory enhancement exceeded the fair market value of the property in violation of Article 1, Section 26 of the Missouri Constitution, which requires that “just compensation”, previously interpreted by the Missouri Supreme Court as fair market value, be paid to a property owner for a taking.

The Eastern District found that the city had preserved its constitutional objection and that the statutory challenge was one of first impression, thus investing the Missouri Supreme Court with exclusive jurisdiction.