Overland Park could start assessing special tax on persistent ‘nuisance’ properties

Over the last year, city staff say they received thousands of complaints about alleged code violations, including overgrown grass and weeds and trash piled up on properties. A handful of violators did not pay city fines. Photo credit Nikki Lansford.

Overland Park is considering a new ordinance that would add a special tax on a limited number of so-called “nuisance” properties that have failed to pay fines and stay up to code.

What’s new? The Overland Park City Council’s Community Development Committee on Wednesday approved city’s staff’s recommendation to move forward with an ordinance that imposes special tax assessments against private “nuisance” properties for unpaid fines.

What it matters: The vast majority of property owners who face complaints or code violations typically get their issues resolved and pay city fines, but a handful of persistent violators are costing the city money trying to clean up their properties.

Background: Between June 11, 2021, and July 1, 2022, city staff say they responded to thousands of requests for service involving private property maintenance cases.

  • The property owners in these cases were usually in violation of city codes through issues like having tall grass and weeds or trash piled up on their property.
  • Under current city procedures, if a property owner fails to fix the violations, they are then charged a $140 fee and city staff may issue a work order to fix the issue.
  • When the city fixes a violation through a work order, the property owner is then responsible for the cost of the work, plus a $100 administrative fee.

The numbers: Out of the thousands of code complaints over the past year, there were 17 outstanding work order cases that remain unpaid, according to city staff.

  • Those properties have cost the city a total of $16,334 in contractor work order charges and failed inspection fees.
  • City staff say the special assessments levied through the new ordinance would enable the city to recoup the outstanding costs it has taken for the city to address code violations on these properties.

Key quote: “Assessing outstanding fees for failed inspections encourages compliance from property owners and generates revenue for the city for the purpose of cost recovery,” said Overland Park Community Services supervisor Rona Downing.

What’s next? The Overland Park City Council is slated to consider final approval of the ordinance Aug. 15.