A dilapidated and vacant house in the 4800 block of West 50th Street in Roeland Park was a topic of discussion this week, with the city exploring several options for how it could proceed to remedy the unfit structure—including demolishing the house or turning it over to Johnson County.
A group of Roeland Park residents, organized by Eric Carson, petitioned the city to address the home commenting that it “poses an imminent threat to the health and safety of the public, particularly the many children that live within walking distance – including the grade school two blocks away.”
Roeland Park’s building official inspected the exterior of the home and found multiple code violation including significant structural issues with the home’s front porch, a broken porch column, broken window, rotting trim and roof, and an open window. Wade Holtkamp, code enforcement officer, said neighbors reported seeing the window open and closed, indicating the home might be used for criminal activity or by homeless people for shelter.
Holtkamp recently located the owner of the home who said they were unaware the property was still in their legal possession. The owner said they had little funds to pay for demolishing the home or fixing its code violations.
If Roeland Park decides to proceed with demolishing the house the city would be responsible for hiring a contractor and for the cost of demolishing the home and leveling the lot. Since the home is behind in property taxes Roeland Park could also wait five years and then turn it over to Johnson County to sell.
Holtkamp said he would work with the owner to gain access into the home so that the interior could be inspected and the building cleared.