Clean and Well Maintained Neighborhoods

What Strategies is Kansas City Using to Address Clean and Well-Maintained Neighborhoods?

The Council Goal for Clean and Well-Maintained Neighborhoods is: To support the development, maintenance, and revitalization of sustainable, stable, and healthy communities in which neighborhoods are safe, clean, well maintained, and consistently improved.

Below are the objectives from the current Citywide Business Plan that outline the specific strategies that the city is pursuing that relate to promoting Clean and Well-Maintained Neighborhoods. These objectives provide insight into the departments that are involved and the actions that are being taken.

How Can We Measure Progress on Promoting Clean and Well-Maintained Neighborhoods?

The City's efforts to promote clean and well-maintained neighborhoods can be measured via the citizen survey, which assesses citizens' perception of the city's property code enforcement. In addition to citizen survey data, the city also analyzes the location and volume of property violation service requests, as well as the city's efforts to address dangerous buildings through demolition and abatement.

Citizen Priorities for Improvement:

Within the Neighborhood Services section of the citizen survey, citizens are asked to select the top two service areas needing additional emphasis for improvement. Nuisance violations, such as trash and weeds, along with vacant structure maintenance are at the top. (updated annually)

Citizen Satisfaction Trends: Top Three Issues

Among the issues that citizens selected as their top priorities for improvement, there is a relatively low level of satisfaction. Citizen satisfaction with these areas has not changed in recent years. The orange point, demolition of vacant structures, was a new question in FY2016 and only one data point is available at this time. (updated annually)

Property Violation Enforcement and Abatement

The City's Neighborhood Preservation Division (NPD), a part of the Neighborhood and Housing Services Department, handles enforcement of the city's property and nuisance code. This requires a staff of inspectors to inspect every address where a violation complaint is received (over 500 per week in the summer), identify any violations that exist, notify the property owner of their responsibility to abate the violation(s), and issue a citation(s) if abatement is not completed within the required time period. In locations where violations have reached an extreme level and abatement is not occurring (sometimes due to an absent property owner), the city can assign a contractor to abate the property by mowing and cleaning. The cost of this activity, plus an administrative fee, is assessed to the property owner. You can review the current nuisance and property maintenance laws online.

Property Violations: Before and After Abatement by the City

Open Property Violations Map

Property violations are one of the most frequently request services via 311, the city's centralized customer call center. During the summer, the volume of open property violation cases generally peaks over 10,000; as the summer "weed season" ends, the volume greatly decreases. You can report violations to the City via kcmo.gov/311. (updated daily)

Property Violations Reports By Month

The chart below shows the number of property cases reported per month for the past several years. The chart demonstrates the seasonality of property violations - although issues like peeling paint and trash/debris can be found year-round, the number of weed/mowing complaints in the summer means a spike in the number of property violations. (updated daily)

Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is trash or refuse that is left on public or privately-owned property in a way that is not compliant with city solid waste regulations. In addition to regular weekly trash and recycling pick-up, the city dedicates staff and equipment to clean illegal dumping throughout the city on a daily basis. The City also works with neighborhood organizations and community partners to address this issue using a variety of strategies and resources.

Monthly Volume of Illegal Dumping Reports

Citizens can report illegal dumping to 311. An increase in volume may indicate a growth in illegal dumping activities. It may also be caused by increased reporting of existing dumping locations. Reports of dumping are sent to department staff for investigation, enforcement, and cleaning. (updated daily)

Heat Map of Illegal Dumping Reports

Mapping illegal dumping activity can help with targeting specific trouble areas in a more efficient and coordinated way. This map shows illegal dumping reports from January 2015 through the present. (updated daily)

Tons of Illegal Dumping Cleaned Up

This chart shows the tons of illegal dumping cleaned up by City crews. The amount of money the city spends on illegal dumping has increased over time. This number is not an exact indicator of the amount of illegal dumping that exists, since clean-up is dependent on city resource availability and identification of the dump site. Cleaning up these sites in a timely fashion is critical to avoid attracting additional illegal dumpers. (updated quarterly)

Neighborhood Cleanups

Neighborhood cleanups involve neighborhood associations working in partnership with the Public Works Department and the Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department to remove waste and debris from a targeted area.

Land Bank

Land banks are a tool that have been increasingly used by cities and counties over the last decade to respond to the increased volume of foreclosed and abandoned properties, and return them to productive use. In Missouri, state-level legislation was needed to authorize the establishment of a Land Bank, which the General Assembly passed in 2012.

The Land Bank of Kansas City, Missouri was established shortly thereafter, in the spring of 2013.The Land Bank functions to manage and sell the more than 3,500 properties (including more than 2,700 vacant lots) that have ended up on public rolls through nonpayment of property taxes. However, the Land Bank can require purchasers to have a plan for renovation and/or demolition of any buildings and redevelopment of the land, and can repossess the property through a deed of trust if the property is not improved or maintained as promised in the offer. For more information about the Land Bank or how it functions, visit: http://www.kcmolandbank.org.

Land Bank Properties by Type

The doughnut chart below shows the current Land Bank inventory by type of property. The most common category is Residential Vacant followed by Residential Improved. Commercial properties make up only a very small portion of Land Bank properties.

Land Bank Properties by Location and Status

Although many of the Land Bank properties that have been sold or are pending sale are concentrated in the urban core, the map shows a diversity of location stretching from the river into south Kansas City. For a map view of all properties still available for sale from the Land Bank (plus other search options), click here .

Land Bank Sales Over time
One of the major goals of the Kansas City Land Bank is to return once abandoned properties to good use.  Land Bank has set a goal to sell forty properties per month.  

Dangerous Buildings

When properties accrue a significant number of structural issues to the extent that they represent a public hazard, they are tagged by the city as a "Dangerous Building" and put on a list to await demolition if abatement of the conditions does not occur. In the meantime, these properties are monitored by a designated group of inspectors and boarded up to secure them from entry from trespassers. The city is currently focused on demolishing these buildings using a targeted approach that attempts to remove all of the dangerous buildings in a given area, in order to increase the impact of the removal.

In 2016 Kansas City announced an initiative to demolish over 800 dangerous buildings.  Here is quick video update (published January 3, 2017). 


Dangerous Buildings in KCMO

A map of all currently designated dangerous buildings is located below. To report a dangerous building that is open to entry, or a new dangerous building, contact 311. Click here for a fullscreen view. 

Waste Reduction and Diversion Rate

Recycling is one of the largest services provided by the city that furthers the goal of sustainable infrastructure. The city provides curbside recycling and several recycling drop-off centers.

Recycling Participation
The chart below shows how often residents report that they recycle. This data is collected via the annual citizen survey. This question was not asked prior to fiscal year 2012. (Updated annually)
Citizen Satisfaction
Citizen satisfaction is measured by the quarterly citizen satisfaction survey. The results are summarized by fiscal year. 80% of citizens are currently satisfied with recycling services offered by the city, one of the highest satisfaction levels of any service that the City provides.


Total Trash and Recycling Collected
The chart below shows the total amount in tons of trash (including bulky and illegal dumping) and recycling that have been collected since 2003. Trash tonnage has declined substantially since the early 2000's, while recycling saw an uptick in FY2005-06 when the curbside program was fully implemented, and has remained steady. The continual decline in trash collection, despite steady recycling collection, is particularly notable. This has occurred despite a growing population and an increasing number of households receiving trash removal services.

More Information on Recycling in Kansas City, Mo

Watch this video on the City's recycling efforts.