The City of Richmond Heights is challenging the Missouri statutes that created Heritage Value and Homestead Value in eminent domain cases. In 2006, the Missouri legislature reformed eminent domain laws in a reaction against abuses by developers that were given eminent domain powers. Heritage value is awarded in some cases where a primary residence is taken or impacted by eminent domain and calls for a 25% addition to any award of just compensation. Homestead value is a 50% addition to condemnation awards for property that is in the same family for 50 years or more.
The case that is currently before the Missouri Supreme Court actually is a taking involving a developer of the Hadley Township redevelopment. The developer was given the power to take property for a retail development. In this case, the home of Lillian Gasway was taken for the development. After trial, she was awarded $300,000 as the value of her property. Under the new law, $75,000 was added to that as her “homestead value.” Now, the developer, using the name of the City, is challenging the constitutionality of the law that created homestead value. The Court of Appeals based in St. Louis recently ordered the case to Jefferson City for consideration by the Supreme Court of Missouri.