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Minutes for SB31 - Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government

Short Title

Rehabilitation of abandoned property by cities.

Minutes Content for Thu, Feb 2, 2017

Chairperson Bowers continued the hearing on SB31.

Larry Baer testified in support of SB31 indicating that this issue is statewide; size of the city is immaterial in regard to dangerous properties, abandoned buildings, etc.  Mr. Baer's testimony stated that SB31 would allow rehabilitation action to be taken before the property became a "dangerous structure."  Mr. Baer responded to questions from Committee members.  (Attachment 1)

Patrick Vogelsberg testified in support of SB31.  Mr. Vogelsberg indicated that the two-factor test that's contained in this legislation has the period of unoccupancy set at 15 months, which is three months more than what was in the bill last year, then adds the second factor of finding that the property is blighted.  Mr. Vogelsberg stated that it's balancing the property rights of the current listed owner with the property rights of the neighborhood.  (Attachment 2)

Mark Galbraith testified in support of SB31 indicating that this legislation offers some hope that an abandoned property would be put back in the hands of someone who's responsible for the property.  Mr. Galbraith stated there's a good chance the property would be brought back up to local municipal codes, would be put to good use, and hopefully put back on the tax rolls.  (Attachment 3)

After questions from the Committee were addressed, the hearing continued.

Ed Jaskinia provided neutral testimony for SB31 stating that the proponents have done a tremendous job fixing the problems that have been in the bill in the past.  Mr. Jaskinia stated his only concern that is still in the bill is the use for parking lots and other, similar uses, indicating that those are eminent domain territory.  (Attachment 4)

Patrick DeLapp testified in opposition of SB31 indicating that there are other ways to get this accomplished.  Mr. DeLapp stated that if this is going to be a "go", more protection should be added in it for individuals. Mr. DeLapp concluded his testimony by describing some solutions beyond the tax sale.  Mr. DeLapp responded to questions from Committee members.   (Attachment 5)

Senator Haley provided neutral testimony for SB31.  Senator Haley stated his concern to this debate is that these definitions do not speak to the traditional definition of abandonment, i.e.,  that putting in time frames for neglect does not mean necessarily that a property is abandoned.  Senator Haley indicated that he would like consideration of an amendment to this bill to expand the definition to ensure that the owner has truly given up any rights and does not hold a property interest.  (Attachment 6)

Written testimony in support of SB31 was submitted by:

Gretchen H. Kunkel, Chair of Healthy Communities Wyandotte Policy Committee (Attachment 7)

Dick Carter, Jr., City of Overland Park (Attachment 8)

Kiel Mangus, Assistant City Manager, City of Manhattan (Attachment 9)

Interim City Manager Doug Gerber, City of Topeka (Attachment 10)

Jon Quinday, CPM, City Manager, City of Russell (Attachment 11)

Alleen VanBebber, City Attorney, City of Fall River (Attachment 12)

Dawn Reeser, Utility Clerk, City of Baxter Springs  (Attachment 13)

Jason A. Gage, City Manager, City of Salina (Attachment 14)

Tamara Niles, City Attorney, City of Arkansas City (Attachment 15)

Mollea Wainscott, Special Projects Coordinator, Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation (Attachment 16)

Ernestor De La Rosa, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Dodge City (Attachment 17)

Kim Everley, City Administrator/Clerk, City of McLouth (Attachment 18)

Mark Wassom, Chief Building Official, Olathe (Attachment 19)

Scott Rickard, Acting City Manager, City of El Dorado (Attachment 20)

Curtis Sneden, Executive Vice-President, Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce (Attachment 21)

Chairperson Bowers closed the hearing on SB31.