SB 611 - This act relates to eminent domain.
SECTION 523.012 - General Plan of State or Political Subdivision
This section requires the state or any political subdivision to develop a written description of the project it intends to complete that requires the use of eminent domain before proceeding with the condemnation of property. The description must include the intended benefit to the public, an explanation of if or how the public will use the condemned property, the estimated costs, the anticipated sources of funds, and the anticipated date of the retirement of obligations incurred to finance the project, and the plan for providing relocation assistance.
SECTION 523.025 - Super Majority Vote
This section prohibits any political subdivision from exercising the power of eminent domain or condemnation until the governing body approves of the proposed condemnation by a 2/3 majority vote.
SECTION 523.035 - Interlocutory Appeals
Under this section, after the petition has been filed to begin condemnation proceedings, the court shall, prior to appointing commissioners, determine whether or not:
(1) The condemning entity has the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain;
(2) The property sought to be condemned is subject to eminent domain;
(3) The property sought to be condemned is for a public use; and
(4) The condemning entity is properly exercising the power of eminent domain in the proceeding.
The court may also determine other issues raised by the owner which attacks the validity of the condemning entity's right to exercise eminent domain.
If the court finds that all the requirements have been met, it shall enter an interlocutory order to such effect. An interlocutory appeal shall lie from such decision as a matter of right. However, if the court finds the requirements have not been met and the condemning entity does not have the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain, the court shall dismiss the petition with prejudice and direct the condemning entity to pay the owner?s court costs and attorneys' fees.
SECTION 523.040 - Commissioner Qualifications & Instructions
Under this section, the Missouri Supreme Court shall promulgate rules to establish uniform instructions to be given to condemnation commissioners regarding their duties when determining the amount of compensation that an owner is to receive for his or her condemned property.
SECTION 523.094 - No Eminent Domain for Economic Development
This section prohibits the state or any political subdivision from exercising the power of eminent domain for the purpose of economic development.
The definition of "economic development" means any activity performed to increase tax revenue, tax base, employment rates, or general economic health, when the activity does not result in the transfer of property to public ownership, a private entity that is a common carrier, or a public utility, rural electric cooperative.
The effective date of this section is contingent upon the approval of amendments to the Missouri Constitution.
SECTION 523.110 - Notice to Property Owners
This section states that when an entity with the power to condemn negotiates with an owner to acquire property, which may eventually be acquired through formal condemnation proceedings, the entity must provide the owner with a summary of his or her rights through certified mail. If the condemning entity does not supply the owner with the summary of rights, a presumption shall exist that any sale or contract between the two parties was not voluntary and the condemning entity may be held responsible for any relief the court may determine to be appropriate.
SECTION 523.120 - Landowner Rights
This section requires a condemning entity to give notice of the intent to acquire property before beginning the process. Such general notice must include a description of the property, notice of the property owners' rights to a hearing, notice that a decision may be appealed to be heard before a jury, and notice that the condemnor will pay reasonable appraisal costs. Property owners may employ an appraiser of their choosing, who must use fair practices that consider various factors such as: 1) comparable sales of property in the area, 2) appraised value of like property in the area, 3)term of ownership of property by current owner, 4) current use of property in comparison to future use of property, 5) availability of like property in the area, and 6) anticipated financial gain from proposed future use. The value of the land shall be equal to the fair market value with upward adjustments from the various factors considered.
Within 90 days of notice, the owners may submit an appraisal to the condemnor, and in return the condemnor must submit its appraisal. All the appraisals may be used to negotiate, but only the condemnor is bound by such appraisals. The condemnor must pay for the costs of the owner?s appraisal, unless several owners exist and they cannot agree on what appraisal to submit.
Under this act, a condemning entity shall not make an offer to purchase property that is less than the fair market value established by it's appraisal, but is not required to make a higher offer in order to be negotiating in "good faith". Any condemning party must make a written offer at least 10 days before the formal filing of a petition with the court to condemn the property. The offer must be filed with the County Recorder of Deeds.
If the parties fail to reach agreement and the action proceeds to trial and the amount of damages awarded the condemnee by the judgment is 25% greater than the amount specified in the offer, the court shall order the condemning entity to pay the condemnee's court costs and attorney's fees.
SECTION 523.125 - Initiation by Condemnor
This section requires a condemnor to initiate construction, improvement, or utilization of the condemned property for the stated public use within 48 months of its acquisition or the former owner shall have the right of first refusal to reacquire the property for the compensated amount or fair market value, whichever is less. This provision will not apply to the State Highways and Transportation Commission.
SECTION 523.205 - Relocation Assistance
This section ensures that any political subdivision, not just those receiving federal funding for a project or those proposing a redevelopment plan, which proposes the displacement of persons through the use of eminent domain must establish, by ordinance or rule, a relocation policy that is equal or greater to the requirements of the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. Sections 4601 to 4655, as amended).
SUSAN HENDERSON MOORE