Vacant and abandoned properties, whether residential or commercial, create costly problems for cities and counties across the United States. They are a drain on municipal budgets, they detract from the quality of life, as well as the economic opportunities of those living around them. They provide an attractive nuisance for illegal activities such as drugs, vandalism, illegal dumping, etc.
Minimizing the harm done by vacant and abandoned properties and restoring these properties to productive use must be a priority of the County.
This is not a new problem, but is one of increasing nature due to the massive foreclosures of homes and property across the United States and here locally. In June 2006 The United States Conference of Mayors met to discuss methods of combating problems of vacant and abandoned properties. In this conference it was discovered every jurisdiction is plagued with this same issue and presented a report outlining the best practices in 27 cities in dealing with the abandoned property problems (a copy of this report is available in the Planning Office). The Kansas City Star presented an article in August 2010 stating the City of Kansas is owed $1.26 million dollars in unpaid summer lawn care bills.
Bringing the point closer to home, Madison County has budgeted in 2009 and 2010 a total of $75,000 for the abatement of nuisance related problems stemming from vacant and abandoned properties and spent a total of $74,100 in nuisance abatement. Many of the properties mowed and cleaned up were properties seized from bank foreclosures and bankruptcy cases.
Many of these properties lie within developed subdivisions where lawns are maintained and quickly become an eyesore and blight for their communities.
Some of the homes start out as abandoned homes where an assortment of trash, discarded furniture, tires, abandoned automobiles and garbage are left deposited not only inside the home but across the property creating a habitation for rats, mice, snakes and other rodent infestations. Depending upon the age and location of the structure, some of these properties have resulted in suspicious fires occurring that totally destroy the home, creating fire safety issues for adjoining property owners.
For more infromation about the ordinance and how to register a property please reference the documents below!