Overland Park’s Draconian Property Inspection plan back from the Dead

11/28/2016 08:39

by Allen Williams


Overland Park’s ‘new’ Property Inspection Program to ensure neighborhood viability has nothing to do with neighborhoods or viability; it’s further enhancement of city revenues at the expense of individual freedom.  What is this rental inspection program you might ask?

It’s simply an ill conceived end run on property rights as originally conceived back in 2007 not 2013 as the Winter issue of Overview Magazine claims.  In 2007 this program was described in Welcome to Systematic Inspection...Overland Parks' Model Police State.  We reported then that{Overland Park, Kansas} City Inspectors will soon be showing up at homeowners doors after sending them a letter advising that they'll be combining and implementing a new area wide inspection program called Systematic Inspection Program or (SIP). The city's Spring 2007 issue of Overview magazine defines the mission: "The new Systematic inspection program was developed to respond to areas identified by city staff members, police officers, fire fighters, city management or city council members...needing an intense and focused enforcement response due to changes in ...lack of maintenance..properties not meeting minimum code standards."


You’ll find that the term ‘minimum code standards’ involves far more than you can imagine. So how does the 2017 ‘OP’ plan differ from 2007?  It’s essentially the same fascist crap repackaged to make it seem more palatable to residents with three major and several minor changes.   After all, Agenda 21 sustainable development requires sustainable inspection.

The first major change in the 2017 city inspection program involves retail property management companies, an unknown number of ‘owners’ and neighborhood leaders which translates to an ersatz Home Owner Association.  (You remember the ones that dictate that you can’t fly an American Flag on your property, or Roeland Park’s no decorative fence in a front yard).  This ‘nom de guerre’ description disguises the lobbying effort by contract property management companies as a ‘grass roots effort’ to ‘improve’ OP neighborhoods.  In this way, it looks like the citizens are demanding action not the city because there aren’t always readily available home owner associations to control all the rental properties in town so city inspectors are needed to pick up the slack.

The second major change involves upfront licensing fees.  Overview magazine Winter 2016 states: “Property owners will be notified two months ahead of their scheduled inspection date of the need to file an application for a rental license and pay the required fee.  This applies to any homeowner needing to rent out his or her home as in when one has to move to another state on a temporary job assignment, etc. Note that the article doesn’t state whether or not these are one time or each and every time inspection fees. There’s also nothing stated in the Overview article to indicate that you wouldn’t have to purchase another license for other properties you may own in the city or even for each new renter at the same address.  Nothing quite like paying to be harassed, eh?

Also note that inspections on rental property could be more frequent if an alleged violation happens to penetrate an exterior wall into the property.  For example, power wires entering the building knocked loose from a storm would be inspected on the inside of the residence as well to ensure that they were properly terminated in a NEMA electrical rated breaker box.  And, once inside the premises the owner is liable for any additional ‘infractions’ an inspector might happen to find on his way to the breaker box.   For example, don’t be caught with bath salts in the home with young children. (Your kids could be seized or you could get evicted or jailed)  I should point out that such liability would most certainly include sending letters critical of OP policy to their attention.  In my case, it resulted in an immediate property inspection and a citation for having grass over 8 inches in height even though the ‘8 inches’ amounted to no more than a dozen dandelions that had sprung up overnight around the yard.

So now we’re getting to the real crux of the matter.  City tax revenues are pretty much stagnant so the only way the city can increase revenue is through fees.”  I mean how else is the city going to replace the money it needs for police and fire protection that was squandered on red-light cameras and other supposed ‘public safety’ equipment not needed in the first place?

The Third major change to the original 2007 inspection plan is the ‘proactive’ nature of the process.  So, what exactly does ‘proactive’ mean?  Well, let’s look at how a typical city such as  Burnsville, Minnesota defines ‘Proactive’: “..By working with residents to remedy things that have the potential to be unsafe, unsanitary.. infringe on the rights of others.. or detrimental to the neighborhood… the City hopes to maintain property values and assure the preservation of the City’s existing housing supply… It is then the goal of inspectors to work with residents to bring any property maintenance issues into compliance with State and City code.

Take note that the city’s program uses roving inspectors who DO NOT require a complaint to inspect property.  They will inspect according to the city’s schedule.  Also don’t miss the deceptive use of the word ‘CODE’ here in the city’s inspection program. That doesn’t just mean building code, people; it includes any ‘nondiscrimination’ codes the city concocts.

So what could possibly infringe on someone else’s rights on your rental property? How about a yard sign advocating marriage between one man and one woman?  This plan isn’t limited to building code inspection alone, it’s highly inspector subjective and residents will likely be asked to make political concessions in the interests of ‘not offending’ others in the neighborhood.  Such as?  Are you planning an ALL PORK barbeque in your backyard?  I’m afraid not.  You could offend someone’s religion.  Sorry, you can’t fly the American flag off your porch, might offend some immigrant group.

You can bet that Mayor Gerlach will make it clear to city inspectors as to what is or is not ‘detrimental’ or ‘hazardous’ to the neighborhood,  How about just a family barbeque in your backyard? NOT SO FAST!  Are you using an approved fuel for your pit? Are there particulate emissions? When was the last time a fire safety evaluation was performed?  Does your gas fired grill have a burner management system?  No? Sorry you can’’t use it.  Need to store some items in a corridor temporarily? That’s a violation of fire code.  Check out Burnside’s inspection requirements to get an idea what you’ll be in for: Provisions requiring property to be in good repair and non-hazardous, and language to strengthen rental license revocation provisions (making license revocation an option for failure to implement the Minnesota Crime Free Housing Lease Addendum and clarifying that outstanding property maintenance, building code or fire code violations can result in license revocation). This is meant to streamline enforcement actions on poorly maintained and unsanitary units..

What exactly is non-hazardous? Residence stairwells that don’t meet OSHA code?  No ADA complaint access?  How about the fire wall rating of the rental’s building materials constructed before all this nonsense became law?  How about a Crime Free Housing Lease Addendum? If you’re selling mail order items out of your rental, you could be committing a crime.  All of these bullshit ordinances are antithetical to the American notion of freedom and if allowed to stand will eventually dominate your life.  You will make no life decision without approval from these people.  However, OP’s inspection plan is an excellent means to force Agenda 21 sustainable development because buildings can be obsoleted and slated for demolition-reconstruction purely as a function of municipal code.

And guess what?  It’s the resident’s responsibility to get city inspection issues resolved.  If you don’t comply with their demands you’ll likely be evicted.  All this in the interests of maintaining high appraisal values for the city tax assessors at the expense of 1st Amendment and other rights.  

  1. The use of an Internet website (opkansas.org/rentals) to inform you of when your property is to be inspected   They may choose to post certain qualifying ‘conditions’ prior to or after your inspection that you will be expected to comply with or be in violation.  And all of this without ‘due process.’  (You can bet you will be tracked and logged when on this site.)  The OP plan is totally devoid of any citizen redress provisions.
  2.  The OP Property Inspection program begins with rental properties initially but you can expect that it will include all property in the city limits as soon as OP government can swing it.  But isn’t that an assault on the US fourth amendment? Yes, but who cares and besides not enough people know or care about what the right to be secure in your person truly means because the only overriding concern is equalization of the property tax base to maximize city coffers. The media certainly isn’t going to tell you.

So, if at first you don’t succeed then just keep nagging the citizenry because ‘OP’ knows what’s best for its residents.

As we  reported back in 2007:  “The next step, is of course, to get inside the home for further inspections as the city of Mission, Kansas has already stated. And, the way in is imaginary 'environmental' threats, [or health concerns] so pick a scenario. How about your chimney doesn't meet current EPA emission standards for greenhouse gas and particulates? I can assure you, that no scheme is too asinine for city hall when it comes to picking the pockets of their citizenry. “

Mr. Trump’s intention to drain the Washington, DC swamp should most certainly apply to Overland Park City Hall and its current occupants.  As long as you keep voting these morons into office you will experience increasingly intrusive and abusive ways to be separated from your money.