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U.S. Supreme Court

Withnell v. Ruecking Construction Co., 249 U.S. 63 (1919)

Withnell v. Ruecking Construction Company

No. 142

Argued January 16, 1919

Decided March 3, 1919

249 U.S. 63


When an assessment for a local improvement is made in accordance with a fixed rule prescribed by legislative act, the property owner is not entitled to be heard in advance on the question of benefit. P. 249 U. S. 68.

Within this principle, an assessment made in accordance with the rule prescribed by the charter of the City of St. Louis is legislative in character, since that charter, having been adopted by direct vote of the citizens under a special provision of the Missouri Constitution, has, as respects local assessments, all the force of a legislative act. P. 249 U. S. 69. St. Louis v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 149 U. S. 465.

The method of assessing part of the cost of local improvements according to frontage, as provided in the St. Louis charter, is unassailable under the previous decisions of this Court. P. 249 U. S. 70. Gast Realty Co. v. Schneider Granite Co., 240 U. S. 55; s.c., 245 U. S. 245 U.S. 288.

Objections based on the manner of laying out an improvement district, and on alleged failure to conform with the city charter, raise only local questions. P. 249 U. S. 70. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 249 U. S. 64

The system of area assessment provided by the St. Louis charter (Gast Realty Co. v. Schneider Granite Co., 240 U. S. 55) is not per se obnoxious to the Fourteenth Amendment, and becomes so in its application only when the results are palpably arbitrary or grossly unequal. P. 249 U. S. 71.

269 Mo. 546 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 249 U. S. 67

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