ST. LOUIS —The Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District Division has upheld a lower court’s ruling a boundary dispute involving the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District.
Presiding Judge Mary Hoff wrote the opinion for the court with judges Robert Dowd Jr. and Kurt Odenwald concurring.
The plaintiffs in the case involved Elsie Beck Glickert, Jen Rivenes Jennsen and Peter Sarandos.
Sarandos filed the lawsuit in July 2015, alleging that the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District built the line beyond the district's boundaries.
The district was granted summary judgment by the Circuit Court of St. Louis County after Sarandos had sought declaratory judgment, and a permanent injunction to prohibit construction and operation of a trolley-car system along Delmar Boulevard from the Loop in University City to Forrest Park in St. Louis.
The project reportedly extended 535 feet past the boundaries of the district, which was formed after voters approved a ballot issue creating the district in 2008.
The project has been debated since 2000 and a number of public meetings have been held.
Since 2008, the project has included improvements beyond the district boundaries on both ends of the route.
Moreover, as early as 2004, plans for the project contemplated extension of the system to accommodate the additional work.
In his lawsuit, Sarandos claimed the district lacks authority to build, maintain and operate the project beyond its boundaries.
“The trial court further held that the district was entitled to summary judgment because neither the (Transportation Development District) Act nor the Formation Judgment prohibited the design of the route,” Hoff wrote in the Dec. 19 opinion.
The district maintained that it had been discussing the project for five years before Sarandos filed his lawsuit.
The district also provided evidence to show that if it were forced to cut off the project at its boundaries, it would incur significant additional costs.
“Evidence supported that if the project was limited to district boundaries, as proposed by Sarandos, the district would have to secure funding and approvals to redesign the line,” Hoff wrote.
Hoff also noted that the district invested considerable resources in planning and design for the entire project years before construction kicked off and all of this information was available to Sarandos.
The appeals court concluded that the trial court properly determined that neither the TDD Act nor the Formation Judgment barred the district from building and operating the project with minor extensions beyond its boundaries.
As a result, it affirmed the lower court’s ruling.