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Nov. 24, 2017
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Minutes for HB2404 - Committee on Local Government

Short Title

Rehabilitation of abandoned property by cities.

Minutes Content for Thu, Mar 23, 2017

Chairperson Williams opened the hearing on the bill.

Mike Heim presented an overview of the bill.

Whitney Damron presented proponent testimony in support of the bill, stating after abandonment, houses are virtually uninhabitable and beyond repair.  This is legislation to save a house and maintain the value, aesthetics and safety of neighborhoods. (Attachment 1)

Larry Baer presented proponent testimony in support of the bill, stating abandoned houses present increases in police and fire calls to these properties that are not paying taxes for the services. (Attachment 2)

Mike Taylor presented proponent testimony in support of the bill, stating only 27% of the Wyandotte County residents were satisfied with the appearance of the community, due to abandoned and nuisance housing. (Attachment 3)

Patrick Vogelsberg presented proponent testimony in support of the bill, stating Kansas Association of Realtors, representing 8,500 members, is advocating this legislation to rehabilitate abandoned houses for property owners, before realizing loss of value to the neighborhoods.(Attachment 4)

Cherise Tieben submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating this is an effective and efficient method of dealing with the procedural challenges on blighted properties.(Attachment 5)

Mollea Wainscott submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating rehabilitation would be aided with this legislation. (Attachment 6)

David Dillner submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating  El Dorado has 400 abandoned houses to be rehabilitated and needs this legislation to accomplish the task.(Attachment 7)

Alleen VanBebber submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating passage of time turns a rehabilitation opportunity into a demolition. (Attachment 8)

Kim Everley submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating rehabilitation should be available to the city before the house is beyond repair. (Attachment 9)

Jon Quinday submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating abandoned houses are a tax payers' expenses and not recouped. (Attachment 10)

Jason Gage submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating blighted houses destroy a strong neighborhood, lowering the value. (Attachment 11)

Curtis Sneden submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating this would allow cities tools to effectively rehabilitate blighted properties, with high regards to individual property rights.(Attachment 12)

Dick Carter submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating it includes vacant houses unoccupied for a term of 15 months. (Attachment 13)

Lavonta Williams submitted written only testimony in support of the bill, stating constituents who suffer from blighted houses in their neighborhood are asking for legislation to stop the destruction of their neighborhoods. (Attachment 14)

Senator David Haley presented neutral testimony on the bill, stating an identifiable owner amendment should be considered, should the property be truly blighted.(Attachment 15)

Ed Jaskinia presented neutral testimony on the bill, stating he has an appreciation for personal property rights, but this legislation is a necessary evil for blighted abandoned properties with no viable owner taking responsibility.(Attachment 16)

John Todd presented opponent testimony on the bill, stating the bill lacks balance between cities and the rights of private property owners dealing with seizure, and legal title.(Attachment 17)

Patrick DeLapp presented opponent testimony on the bill, stating compensation needs to be paid to the owner who abandoned the house should the city take ownership. His concerns are regarding the poor who can not maintain the house. (Attachment 18)

Janet Wilson presented opponent testimony on the bill, stating her house is empty and not maintained due to caring for her mother in a different location. (Attachment 19)

Richard Ranzau submitted written only testimony on the bill, stating this legislation would expand city authority to take private property for nonpublic purposes, which he considers eminent domain in a light form. (Attachment 20)

Discussion:

It was confirmed that houses must be abandoned and blighted to be considered for this bill.  The bill would only be effective if no owner is found for the property.  Blighted condition is determined by district courts.  Concerns were expressed over personal property rights by opponent and neutral conferees.  Issues were discussed over houses being torn down leaving vacant lots, especially in the 67214 Wichita zip code area.  Tax sale purchase redemption rights are saleable and transferable.  It was noted a previous owner can not purchase his own property back on a property sale. It was questioned exactly how long it would be before due diligence is exhausted with the city paying all expenses with taxpayer money.

Chairperson Williams closed the hearing on the bill.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:20 PM.

There are no additional House Local Government committee meetings scheduled for the 2017 Legislative Session.