Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Missouri The
Honorable Randall R. Jackson, Judge
Before: Thomas H. Newton, Presiding Judge, Cynthia L. Martin,
Judge and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judge
Cynthia L. Martin, Judge
of Agency, Missouri ("Village") appeals the trial
court's denial of a petition which sought a declaration
authorizing an involuntary annexation. Village alleges that
the trial court erred in requiring it to prove by substantial
evidence that the reasonableness and necessity of the
proposed annexation was fairly debatable. Village also
alleges that the trial court erred in refusing to consider
its desire to regulate nearby land so that it would not be
put to a noxious use in determining whether the
reasonableness and necessity of the annexation was fairly
debatable. We affirm.
and Procedural Background
sought to annex approximately 347 acres of unincorporated
land located in Buchanan County, Missouri adjacent to its
existing city limits ("Annexed Territory"). City of
St. Joseph, Missouri ("City") owns approximately
238 acres of the Annexed Territory.City also owns and operates a
landfill that is located west of the Annexed Territory.
has previously attempted to expand the landfill into the
Annexed Territory by applying for conditional use permits
from Buchanan County. Though Village has successfully opposed
these applications, it decided in May 2013 to initiate
involuntary annexation proceedings "to control how the
[Annexed Territory] would be developed in order to maintain
the character of [Village] and the quality of life enjoyed by
Village residents." [Appellant's Brief, p. 15] The
annexation proceedings were initiated pursuant to section
71.015,  the Sawyer Act.
held a public hearing to present an annexation plan of
intent. The plan of intent was prepared by Earl Huskamp
("Huskamp"), Village's Clerk. The plan of
intent provided that the Annexed Territory would remain zoned
agricultural. Village's Board of Trustee's authorized
the annexation by duly enacted ordinance, and at a subsequent
election on November 4, 2014, a majority of the electors in
both Village and the Annexed Territory approved the
then filed a petition seeking a declaratory judgment
authorizing the annexation. The trial court entered its
judgment on November 18, 2015 ("Judgment") finding
that Village failed to put forth substantial evidence to
establish that the reasonableness and necessity of the
proposed annexation was fairly debatable. The Judgment thus
concluded that Village could not proceed with annexation of
the Annexed Territory.
filed this timely appeal.
standard of review applicable to a decision to annex land is
whether there is substantial evidence showing that the
reasonableness and necessity of the annexation is at least
fairly debatable." City of Centralia v. Norden,
879 S.W.2d 724, 727 (Mo. App. W.D. 1994). The extent of our
inquiry is "whether substantial evidence has been
presented by the [annexing municipality] to support the
determination of its governing body such that reasonable men
could differ as to the necessity of the extension."
Id. "If there is substantial evidence both ways
on the issue of annexation, then the legislative conclusion
is determinative." Id.
asserts two points on appeal. Village's first point
argues that the trial court erred in requiring Village to
establish by substantial evidence that the reasonableness and
necessity of the annexation was fairly debatable.
Village's second point argues that the trial court
erroneously concluded that the reasonableness and necessity
of the annexation was not fairly debatable because the ...