Politics & Government

New city ordinance would target nuisance properties

(File photo)
(File photo) File photo

Wichita police will have a greater ability to deal with nuisance properties with a new ordinance preliminarily passed by the Wichita City Council on Tuesday.

On third offense, the new ordinance would allow the city to charge problem property owners a “special security assignment fee” to recoup costs of officers’ hourly rates and overtime.

The ordinance would apply to properties – both residential and commercial – where police are being repeatedly called for nuisance violations.

Those violations include things like loud noises, illegal dumping, sale of controlled substances, sale of sexual relations and building code violations.

There are some properties in Wichita that have more than 100 calls to police in a year, which the department can’t sustain, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay told the council.

One apartment building on Pawnee had more than 244 calls for service.

There’s also a hotel on Broadway where some officers joke they should just have an officer at the front desk because they send someone there so often, Ramsay said.

Despite repeated visits to these types of properties, police currently have “no tool to effectively shut those places down,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay said that the department will work with property owners to come up with plans to fix issues, but this ordinance will focus on property owners who do not cooperate.

“If they fail to come up with a plan, we will stop subsidizing services,” he said.

An appeals process would include the chief, city manager, City Council and ultimately district court.

The ordinance still needs final approval from the council. If passed, it will likely take effect in early 2017.

Kelsey Ryan: 316-269-6752, @kelsey_ryan