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Bob Ferguson

AGO 1951 No. 80 - Jun 28 1951
Attorney General Smith Troy


Fourth class municipalities may acquire lands for park purposes without electoral authorization.

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                                                                   June 28, 1951

Mr. Donald H. Webster, Director
Bureau of Governmental Research and Services
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 80

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of June 6, 1951.

            You ask if the acquisition of real property for park purposes by fourth class municipalities is governed by chapter 103, Laws of 1899 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 9176) or chapter 97, Laws of 1949 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 9319, 1949 Supp.)?

            We conclude that the latter law controls.


            Chapter 103,supra, authorizes fourth class cities to acquire land for public parks.

            "* * * Provided, however, that no sum shall be appropriated for that purpose until the same is authorized by a vote of two-thirds of the qualified voters residing in such city, * * *"

            Chapter 97,supra, authorizes any city or town

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "* * * to acquire any land within this state for park * * * purposes * * * by donation, purchase or condemnation, * * *"

            To be noted is the fact that chapter 97 is the later enactment of the two, and that it requires no such electoral sanction as is found in chapter 103, supra.

            The recent case ofState ex rel. Reed vs. Spanaway, 138 Wash. Dec. 375 [[38 Wn.2d 393]], 378, states the law on implied repeals:

            "Repeals by implication are ordinarily not favored in law, and a later act will not operate to repeal an earlier act except in such instances where the later act covers the entire subject matter of the earlier legislation, is complete in itself, and is evidently intended to supersede the prior legislation on the subject, or unless the two acts are so clearly inconsistent with, and repugnant to, each other that they cannot, by a fair and reasonable construction, be reconciled and both given effect.  * * *"

            We are of the opinion that chapter 97, supra, impliedly repeals anything in chapter 103,supra, that conflicts therewith.


            (a) Chapter 97,supra, covers the entire subject matter of the earlier legislation relative to the acquisition of lands for park purposes.

            (b) Chapter 97,supra, is complete within itself.

            (c) The two acts are clearly inconsistent with, and repugnant to, each other.  Section 4 of chapter 97,supra, states that the act

            "* * * shall not be construed to repeal or limit any existing power ofany city or park district, but to grant powers in addition thereto."  (Emphasis supplied)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We, therefore, conclude that a fourth class municipality may acquire by purchase lands for park purposes without the consent of the voters of such town.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General