Embree v. Kansas City & Liberty Blvd. Rd. Dist. - 240 U.S. 242 (1916)
U.S. Supreme Court
Embree v. Kansas City & Liberty Blvd. Rd. Dist., 240 U.S. 242 (1916)
Embree v. Kansas City & Liberty Boulevard Road District
Argued January 18, 19, 1916
Decided February 21, 1916
240 U.S. 242
Where a taxing district is not established by the legislature, but by exercise of delegated authority, there is no legislative decision that its location, boundaries, and needs are such that the lands therein are benefited, and it is essential to due process of law that the landowners be accorded an opportunity to be heard on the question of benefits.
Where a statute delegating authority for establishment of taxing districts provides for a hearing on the question of benefits, the decision of the designated tribunal is sufficient; and, unless made fraudulently or in bad faith, due process is not denied. A statute requiring adequate public notice of the time and place of presentation of the petition for the creation of a tax district and providing for presentation of remonstrances with power to the designated tribunal to hear the petition and remonstrances and to make such changes in the boundaries of the proposed district as the public good may require not only contemplates a hearing, but authorizes the tribunal to so adjust the boundaries as to include
only such lands as may reasonably be expected to be benefited by the improvement.
There is an inseparable union between the public good and due regard for private rights.
An adequate hearing may be had before a delegated tribunal authorized to establish taxing districts for roads and to declare what lands shall be included therein as being benefited and due process of law accorded to the owners, although the particular roads to be improved may not have been designated.
A legislative act establishing zones of benefits with graduated ratings for assessments in districts lawfully created does not deny due process of law where it does not provide for a hearing on this particular feature unless the legislative apportionment is so arbitrary and devoid of any reasonable basis as to amount to an abuse of power.
Although no hearing may be afforded to owners of land within a taxing district on the appraisal of their lands for the purpose of apportioning the tax, if such a hearing is accorded when the tax is sought to be enforced, due process of law is not denied.
Revised Stat.Missouri 1909, c. 102, art. 7, and Missouri Laws 1911, 373, providing for establishment of road improvement districts and the issuing of bonds and levying of special taxes therefor, are not unconstitutional under the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.
257 Mo. 593 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of proceedings under the applicable statute of Missouri for issuing and selling road district bonds and levy of special taxes to pay them, are stated in the opinion.