Quick 311 Responses
By John Sharp
Now is a good time to report ongoing nuisance and property maintenance violations that are blighting your neighborhood such as trash and junk cars to the city of KCMO since the volume of such complaints decreases significantly as winter approaches so problems are more likely to get resolved quickly.
Persons may make such complaints by calling 311 or 816-513-1313 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, but to avoid possible wait times, it is often faster and more convenient to go to www.kcmo.gov anytime and click on 311 at the top of the page to file your complaint online.
Complaints may be made anonymously.
To get the issue addressed as promptly and effectively as possible you should:
Give the precise location of the apparent violation such as the street address or what corner of an intersection.
Describe the problem in detail.
Tell how long the problem has been going on or when you first noticed it.
Provide your contact information if you want to know how the case was resolved.
I am president of the South Kansas City Alliance (SKCA), and our organization contracts with the city of KCMO to investigate such complaints throughout the 5th and 6th Council Districts that cover south Kansas City, and if they are verified by SKCA’s trained codes advocate, to write property owners and give them roughly two weeks to correct the problem.
The SKCA codes advocate will work with property owners that need more time to correct serious violations, but if the written warning is ignored or the property owner fails to follow through with correcting the problem in a reasonable amount of time the case is referred back to the city for legal enforcement.
The great bulk of the complaints referred to the SKCA involve trash, appliances, furniture and debris littering yards; overgrown weeds and grass; and vehicles parked in the grass on front lawns or improperly licensed or damaged vehicles parked in front driveways. While not as frequent, numerous complaints have been about peeling paint, fallen gutters and vacant buildings with broken windows or that are otherwise open to entry.
While not every nuisance has been promptly or successfully abated (particularly those involving absentee owners), since the program started in the spring of 2019, over 70 percent of the verified violations have been voluntarily corrected by the property owners within the two-week grace period or shortly thereafter.
This has been a win-win result since most of the blighting conditions have been eliminated relatively quickly instead of dragging on for months and months, and the owners of such properties have avoided the time and trouble of Housing Court appearances and the hefty fines that can be levied for violations of the city’s nuisance and property maintenance codes.
It also has freed up the city’s overloaded inspectors to concentrate on violations that are more complicated and serious.
The SKCA codes advocate also can refer property owners to programs that can assist them in remedying property maintenance violations such as the city’s home repair programs and paint program and can supply blue trash bags for organized neighborhood cleanups.
For more information about the specific violations the codes advocate handles or to request trash bags for cleanups, persons may call 816-600-0737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.