« Still fighting for light rail | Main | Why was lawmaker left off committee? »

February 10, 2009

Vacant property in KC

It’s about time Kansas City takes a more proactive stance against the growing population of vacant homes (2/5, Opinion). On my block, five of the nine homes surrounding us are vacant. One house has been vacant more than 20 years.

My concerns: How will the city enforce this ordinance and get the owners to register? For once they do, will they be hit with a fine? It’s hard enough getting these owners to keep the grass on their properties trimmed. The billing process when the city is forced to cut it must be atrocious. Won’t the city have similar problems with this ordinance?

How will the city know the home is vacant if the owner does not register? Will the city provide a procedure to report homes in your neighborhood that have been vacant for more than three months? If not, the ordinance may be no better than the paper it was written on.

Sandy Diehl
Kansas City


Stifled Freedom

And what will the city do once they get these properties? Dump a bunch of money into it only to find someone scammed them.

We had a case a few years ago where someone spent $100s of thousands on some run down dumps...we later found it that the contractor ripped off the taxpayer and kept most of the money.


Why do you say that? Do you see no value in the increased ability of the City to obtain vacant properties?

Stifled Freedom

The ordinance was a typical knee jerk reaction by govt to make it appear they are doing something.


It looks to me like the ordinance is designed to give the City a little more bite with blighted property owners.

It's fairly common practice for cities to use code enforcement violations to rack up fines on blighted property with the goal of taking them through lien and/or condemnation procedures when the owner doesn't pay, which is often the case when thousands of dollars in fines have been racked up. My guess is that this ordinance is designed to give the City an extra column to tally fines against, and probably short circuits some of the notification processes that slow down the condemnation processes with unknown absentee owners. If you're required to register your property with the City, and you fail to do this, the courts could view this as a de facto waiving of your notification rights and enter summary judgements against you, thus speeding up the condemnation process.

I tend to think KCMO is actually on the right track with this one.

About KansasCity.com | About the Real Cities Network | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About Knight Ridder | Copyright