Oops! Sorry About Demolishing Your Property
Albert Munoz, who works as a mechanic and a construction worker, bought a 2-story building in Kansas City, Kan., in the hopes of rehabbing the property. According to Fox 4 Kansas City, Munoz invested more than $400,000 in the building in the hopes of turning the upstairs into apartments and the downstairs into space for his business.
However, in February 2011, Wyandotte County and a wrecking company destroyed the property. Munoz is suing for damages.
The story seems like a shocking outlier. But, just months ago, there was a similar demolition east across the state line, in Missouri.
Show-Me Daily readers may already be familiar with the Jackson County Land Trust, the government entity that deals with vacant land in Kansas City. State legislators have criticized the Land Trust for not selling much property. But, in at least one case, the Land Trust sold a property to a buyer, only to have to deal with the consequences when Kansas City accidentally demolished the property.
During its January 2012 meeting, the Land Trust noted that:
. . . an elderly non-English speaking gentleman purchased 3914 E. 46th Street from Land Trust. Unbeknownst to the buyer, about 30 days subsequent to his purchase, the city demolished the structure on the property. . . . the buyer is interested in 3227 Garfield as a potential alternative and that the buyer may be approaching Land Trust for resolution.
Sadly, when local government gets enthusiastic about demolishing properties in an attempt to mitigate “blight,” property owners can lose their homes. An example in Montgomery, Ala., provides another cautionary tale. There, homes were bulldozed for ordinance violations. To add insult to injury, property owners were then billed for the cost of the demolition.
Is it too much to ask for local government to do a little more due diligence before knocking down someone’s property?