Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 214
Cemeteries
Section 214.205

August 28, 2014


Violation of nuisance ordinance--abandonment--action authorized--costs--eminent domain.

214.205. 1. If any cemetery not described in section 214.090 is found to be in violation of a city, town, village or county nuisance ordinance for failure to cut grass or weeds, or care for graves, grave markers, walls, fences, driveways or buildings, the governing body of such city, town, village or county shall be authorized to take those actions necessary to restore and maintain the cemetery, and the governing body shall be authorized to charge the expenses of such actions against the cemetery. If actions are taken by a city, town, village or county pursuant to this subsection, the city, town, village or county may assess all true costs of restoration, maintenance and operation against any responsible person, partnership or corporation whether such person, partnership or corporation is a lessee, lessor, equitable title holder or legal title holder to the unmaintained cemetery. Any city, town, village or county which assesses costs pursuant to this section reserves the right to pursue any and all legal, equitable or criminal remedies to collect such assessed costs. Any city, town, village or county which pursues a civil remedy pursuant to this section may employ independent attorneys and law firms to collect the costs of restoration, maintenance and operation of any unmaintained cemetery.

2. As used in this section, the term "abandoned cemetery" means any cemetery, except one described in section 214.090, in which, for a period of at least one year, there has been a substantial failure to cut grass or weeds or care for graves, grave markers, walls, fences, driveways and buildings or for which proper records have not been maintained pursuant to section 214.340. Whenever the attorney general determines the existence of an abandoned cemetery in this state, the attorney general shall immediately proceed to dissolve the cemetery corporation owning the same. Upon the dissolution of such corporation, title to all property owned by the cemetery corporation shall vest in the municipality or county in which the cemetery is located, and the endowed care fund, together with all investments then outstanding, and all books, records and papers of such corporation shall be transferred to the treasurer of such municipality or county and shall become the property thereof. Upon the transfer of such property and funds, the governing body of such municipality or county shall care for and maintain such cemetery with any moneys of the cemetery corporation, including the principal of and income from the endowed care funds, and, if such moneys are insufficient to properly maintain such cemetery, then it may use funds of the municipality or county.

3. In addition to those powers granted the attorney general in subsection 2 of this section, every municipality or county in which any abandoned cemetery is located may acquire through its power of eminent domain such cemetery, together with all endowed care funds, maintenance equipment, books and records, accounts receivable and other personal property used or created in the operation of the cemetery and owned or controlled by the person or association which owns the cemetery. The municipality or county shall acquire the cemetery and related property subject to the rights of owners of burial lots or other interment spaces. Upon so acquiring the cemetery and related property, the acquiring municipality or county shall operate and maintain the cemetery as a public cemetery. The municipality or county which so acquires an abandoned cemetery shall not be liable for any act or transaction which occurred prior to such acquisition, including, without limitation, any obligation to third parties or incorrect lot ownership or burial records.

(L. 1990 H.B. 1079)

CROSS REFERENCE:

Cemeteries acquired by St. Louis City pursuant to this section may be sold, to whom, 214.500

(2001) County's acquisition of abandoned cemetery free and clear of existing liens constituted an uncompensated taking of the lienholder's property. State ex rel. Nixon v. Jewell, 70 S.W.3d 465 (Mo.App.E.D.).


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