City Council attacks nuisance properties

The City Council in February passed a chronic nuisance ordinance that gives Kansas City residents an enhanced tool to address residences or businesses that become sites of criminal activity.

Under this ordinance, a location that fosters a misdemeanor or felony can face penalties from the city that could result in the property being seized and put up for auction.

“These are powers we haven’t had before,” said First District Councilman Scott Wagner at the February “Second Friday” meeting hosted by Sixth District Councilmen John Sharp and Scott Taylor at the Trailside Center at 99th and Holmes. The Sixth District includes WPHA boundaries.

Wagner, who represents the Northland, introduced the ordinance to replace a previous ordinance that he suggested needed strengthening.

Such lesser nuisances as barking dogs or overgrown yards would not be covered by this ordinance. It aims at such crimes as drug sales, illegal use of firearms, disorderly conduct, and incidents causing bodily injury.

Action from the city will result if police are called to a property for any of these alleged crimes three times within 30 days or seven times within 180 days.
Then the business or home owner cited will be required to appear before the city’s neighborhoods and housing services department. If the complaints are founded, the party cited will be given 30 days to produce a plan to correct the issues.

Those cited can be required to pay for repairs or subject to special assessments. Such assessments, Wagner said, “will go on their county property taxes and begin their trip to the courthouse steps.”

A property owner can take his case before a seven-member chronic nuisance board, which will be appointed by Mayor Sly James. Any community members who will to be considered can contact Sharp at or Taylor at The ordinance, No. 150044, can be found online.