Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Truth about SB 338

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Truth about SB 338

Article excerpt

Much has been written about SB 338, the abandoned housing bill passed by the 2016 Kansas Legislature, since the measure was vetoed by Governor Brownback on April 10. Some of the comments and criticisms have merit; some do not. As Mayor of the City of Topeka and the 2016 president of the League of Kansas Municipalities representing more than 600 cities in Kansas, both supporters of SB 338, I would like to set the record straight.

The notion that this bill would give cities the right to rip land and homes away from people is, to be blunt, wrong. The properties this bill pertains to don't have residents. They don't have an owner we can locate -- through months of searching -- or who cares about their property. Water, electricity and gas have been turned off. Taxes have not been paid.

The properties this bill applies to are empty, abandoned. They aren't safe. They have grass you the taxpayers must pay to be mowed. They invite criminal activity into your neighborhood. They bring down your property value. Letting them rot to the point where demolition is the only option increases these factors -- and increases the amount you as taxpayers pay to deal with them.

We would like to get to these abandoned, forgotten properties before they become a safety hazard, before we spend thousands of your tax dollars trying to find these negligent owners, mowing weeds, increasing police patrols and tearing down homes. SB 338 would have helped us do that.

Before a City could take action on a property under SB 338, the property has to be abandoned for a full year and be deemed a threat to health and safety. Cities have to provide notice, file a petition with the district court and have the effort approved by your governing body. Each of those steps, among many others, is an opportunity for the property owners to intervene. Further, the city has to have a rehabilitation plan -- including who will be responsible for the property -- before it could do anything. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.