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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • LV County administrator: Bill doesn't go far enough

  • The Leavenworth County Commission wants stronger authority for dealing with nuisance properties.
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    • Leavenworth County Board of Health hearings:
      Leavenworth County commissioners met as the Leavenworth County Board of Health on Thursday morning to address issues raised about two properties.

      Commissioners met as the Boa...
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      Leavenworth County Board of Health hearings:
      Leavenworth County commissioners met as the Leavenworth County Board of Health on Thursday morning to address issues raised about two properties.
      Commissioners met as the Board of Health to resume discussion of a house at 15264 Prairie View Road.
      Commissioners met as the Board of Health last week to determine whether the property poses an imminent health hazard. At the time, the property's new owner, Redie Lewis, agreed to allow the county to conduct a mold test at the site.
      She has since indicated she won't grant the county access.
      Lewis was invited to meet with commissioners Thursday morning, but did not attend the meeting.
      County Counselor David Van Parys noted commissioners already planned to resume a public hearing on the issue Jan. 23. He suggested they delay further discussion until then.
      Van Parys said he also can explore other options for possible nuisance abatement of the property.
      "You do have other remedies that are available," he said.
      The commission also met as the Leavenworth County Board of Health on Thursday to discuss a property at 21109 Spruce Road.
      Commissioners passed a resolution finding the property is a nuisance because of a automobile graveyard at the location.
      Deputy County Counselor Roger Marrs said county officials having been dealing with the issue for about eight years.
      According to Jeff Joseph, planning and zoning director, there are about a dozen vehicles on the property, which encompasses two adjacent parcels. Five of the vehicles have tags.
      He said property owners have made some recent progress to address the problem. They have until Feb. 12 to be in compliance.
      Marrs said the property owners have put in quite a bit of effort.
      But, county officials don't want anything to cause a further delay in addressing the problem if property owners fail to come into compliance. He said that's why commissioners were asked to approve the resolution.
  • The Leavenworth County Commission wants stronger authority for dealing with nuisance properties.
    A bill that has been introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives is designed to do that. But, Leavenworth County Administrator Pat Hurley said House Bill 2247 doesn't go far enough.
    Hurley briefed commissioners on the proposed bill Thursday morning.
    He said a House committee hearing on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Topeka. Commissioner Dennis Bixby plans to testify at the hearing.
    County officials have expressed support for legislation that would provide county government the same authority as cities in Kansas when it comes to dealing with nuisance properties.
    "It is one of the 10 issues we addressed with our legislators," Hurley said.
    Hurley reviewed 10 legislative priorities with state lawmakers who represent portions of the county during a Jan. 8 breakfast in Lansing.
    Right now, the County Commission has to go through an extensive exercise of meetings as the Leavenworth County Board of Health to address concerns about some properties, Hurley said.
    HB 2247, which was introduced last year, is before the Committee on Local Government in the House.
    "It's a strangely written bill," Hurley said.
    He said it would be easier to add county governments to the existing law that gives nuisance abatement authority to cities instead of creating a new law, such as in the case with HB 2247.
    "There's a much simpler approach," Hurley said.
    Hurley said Bixby will argue during his testimony that the county needs authority to deal with dilapidated properties.
    The county has to prepare a written copy of the testimony to be submitted to the committee ahead of the Tuesday's hearing. By testifying in person, Bixby may be subject to questions.

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