KS Supreme Courtroom Holds Annexation Settlement Invalid

This publish was authored by Amy Lavine, Esq.

The Kansas Supreme Courtroom held in July {{that a}} written settlement between two cities to restrict their future annexations was unenforceable.

The settlement at problem was executed in 2006 between the Metropolis of Olathe and the Metropolis of Spring Hill, and it delineated the boundary for each metropolis’s annexation authority for the realm positioned between the two cities; the Metropolis of Olathe agreed to not annex property south of the boundary line, the Metropolis of Spring Hill agreed to not annex property north of the highway, and every cities reserved their rights to annex properties inside their respective boundary strains. The settlement did not embody any expiration date and in its place acknowledged that it would keep in influence until it was terminated by the mutual consent of every cities. In 2021, the Metropolis of Spring Hill notified the Metropolis of Olathe that it imagined to annex property north of the boundary line, in contravention to the settlement. This prompted the Metropolis of Olathe to begin litigation to implement the settlement.

Upon analysis, the Kansas Supreme Courtroom concluded that the settlement was unenforceable as a governmental movement which may not bind subsequent metropolis councils, and it declined to grant the Metropolis of Olathe’s request for injunctive assist. The courtroom outlined that its decision was primarily based totally on the “longstanding frequent laws rule that an elected governing physique couldn’t use its legislative power to constrain future governing our our bodies to look at regular protection selections.” As a result of the courtroom outlined:

The essence of this rule lies inside the elementary philosophy of American democracy. Contained in the constraints of constitutionally protected rights, it is the desire of the residents that determines protection selections. If an elected governing physique is allowed to bind future our our bodies to a specific plan of motion, the influence is to silence the will of voters eventually…. To hold in every other case would invite elected governing our our bodies to make their insurance coverage insurance policies eternal, defeating the facility of future voters to set their very personal packages, leading to archaic legal guidelines, stagnation, and an incapability to answer to modified circumstances.

Whereas this rule prevents “governmental” or “proprietary” agreements from binding future governing our our bodies, it permits legislatures to undertake certain kinds of “administrative” and “proprietary” obligations. The courtroom outlined that governmental and legislative agreements are inclined to narrate to “affairs of political jurisdiction and promoting most people welfare at large. Such powers include policymaking, and such a carry out cannot be contracted away….” As associated to the cities’ annexation settlement, the courtroom well-known that “the occasion, introduction, or enchancment of corporations are, by and massive, considered governmental, nevertheless the routine repairs of the following corporations is usually deemed proprietary.” The settlement, the courtroom found, mirrored “quintessential protection issues” regarding the occasion, introduction, and enchancment of corporations, and it was attributable to this truth clearly governmental and could not be considered a sound contract with any binding influence on future elected councils. It was not an settlement to produce corporations that may very well be considered “administrative,” the courtroom talked about, since “the Settlement does not arrange who would provide corporations, what these corporations may very well be, when these corporations may very well be provided, and even when these corporations may very well be provided.”

The Metropolis of Olathe argued that the settlement was nonetheless licensed beneath a state statute referring to annexation contracts. As a result of the courtroom recognized, nonetheless, the statute explicitly solely allowed contracts which may be licensed by laws, and “a contract that is of open-ended interval that seeks to restrain the protection selections of future municipal governments is, as we now have merely seen, not licensed by laws.” For comparable causes, the courtroom moreover dismissed the Metropolis of Olathe’s competitors that the settlement was licensed by its home-rule powers. To hold in every other case, the courtroom emphasised, would undermine the entire thought of home rule, since “it would take away from elected municipal governments the facility to make selections and act consistent with the will of the voters if prior governments had devoted them to protection packages .”

Metropolis of Olathe v. Metropolis of Spring Hill, 512 P.3d 723 (Can 7/1/22).