Fire Districts Challenge City Annexation Vote Calling Law Invalid, Affton, Mehlville Districts Ask County Circuit Court to Halt Election

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Two fire protection districts have asked the courts to cancel Crestwood's annexation election on Nov. 8 and floated a legal cloud over proposals from eight other municipalities who want voters that day to agree to enlarge their boundaries.

On Tuesday, the Affton and Mehlville fire districts asked the St. Louis County Circuit Court to stop the election. They assert that the law Crestwood is using is invalid. J. Anthony Dill, attorney for the Affton fire district, declared that because of a state Supreme Court decision in May, the state has no law that allows annexations in St. Louis County.

Crestwood City Administrator D. Kent Leichliter said on Tuesday that he was unaware of the suit when a reporter told him of it. He said Crestwood believes the law under which it acted is valid.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Robert Lee Campbell will hold a hearing on the two districts' request at 2 p.m. Monday.

Crestwood wants to annex:

An area bounded by Watson Road, Rock Hill Road and the city limits of Grantwood Village and Crestwood that is in the Affton fire district.

An area bounded by the Crestwood city limits, Baptist Church Road, plus properties several blocks south of Gravois Road and Sappington Road that is the Mehlville fire district.

Crestwood operates a fire department. Dill said the two districts are concerned they would lose thousands in revenue if the city extends its department into the area to be annexed. Officials have said the yearly loss for Affton would be $147,000 and for Mehlville $186,000.

In May, the state Supreme Court invalidated the Boundary Commission, which regulated elections on annexations and incorporations in the county. The court said the law violated the state constitution because it applied only to St. Louis County.

Crestwood and the other eight municipalities reverted to a law passed in 1961 to put annexations on the ballot. …