Wichita homeowners must pay for demolition of their deteriorating homes, but the owners of a long-festering and highly visible commercial property get to use tax funds for their demolition expense.
Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider condemnation of two houses in Wichita. In both cases the Board of Building Code Standards and Appeals recommends demolition of the buildings, at the owner’s expense.
Action like this is common for residential property in Wichita. But we don’t often see commercial property demolished by city council action. Tomorrow’s proposed — and likely — action is in contrast with action taken a few weeks ago by the council. Then, the council allowed the owner of blighted commercial property located near the airport to collect additional sales tax from future customers in order to pay for demolition of a hotel and restaurant.
As reported in the Wichita Eagle, the restaurant had been vacant for about a decade. Supporters, say the newspaper, refer to the property as “blighted.” The council member that represents the area says it is “dilapidated” and “vacant for a long time.” It was described as contributing to an unsightly first impression of the city.
So why is the city likely to demolish two obscure houses while it let a long-time blighted commercial property languish in a highly visible location?
And why does the city charge homeowners for demolition, but allows a commercial property owner to pay for its demolition with tax money?