Topeka City Council Stiffens Property Code Enforcement

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topekan Renee Crossman is fed up with the house next door at 3914 Munson Avenue. "You spend a lot of money to do stuff to do stuff and to make your house look nice and then you have this next door, a terrible eye sore and we've been wanting something to be done about it, said Crossman.

Tuesday night, city council members made that change by adopting the 2012 IPMC 8-1 with Councilman John Campos casting the only no vote.

"It gives us more clarity on how we want to enforce our code problems, and that clarity comes from specificity and that's what is necessary in being able to target troubled properties and figuring out how we resolve those issues," said District 6 Councilman Chad Manspeaker.

District 2 Councilman John Campos said, "I would have preferred we send this back Public Health and Safety Committee to address some of the issues in the code and that unfortunately didn't happen. My main concern is the ability for them to enter into the home. That is something that has not existed prior.."

City Attorney Chad Sublet says they've addressed that issue. "That person would have to go through the process of getting a search warrant. They would have to establish why they needed access into the home, what evidence they believed existed in the home and that would have to get signed by a judge. So in no case can a code inspector force their way into the home if they were denied entry into the home."

Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast says it's a win for the city. "It's in my opinion one of the significant things we could do for the city of Topeka. It is moving the city forward. It's putting us on the same level as most major cities," said Wolgast.

City Council members also approved to meet just 3 days a month and to remove first readings, which will begin May 6th.