Riley County Announces New Nuisance Abatement Law Effective July 1

By Ryan Duey

Riley County has announced that starting Monday, July 1, Riley County will have the authority to abate nuisances on properties in unincorporated areas and bill property owners for the cost of the work, due to Kansas Senate Bill 384. A property nuisance involves knowingly allowing conditions that endanger public health, safety, or welfare. Examples include storing multiple abandoned vehicles, broken furniture, discarded refrigerators, or other hazardous materials. Typically, nuisances are identified through neighbor complaints.

When a complaint is received, Riley County Planning & Development/Environmental Health conducts a visual inspection of the property and notifies the owner of any issues that constitute a nuisance or violate zoning ordinances. The county staff do not enter the property during this inspection. Initially, a notice of violation is sent to the property owner detailing the required compliance measures. If the owner fails to comply after three notices, the County Counselor’s Office initiates court proceedings to issue a court order.

Previously, Riley County had limited recourse if property owners refused to comply after the court order. “Enforcement in the past was challenging and problematic for both the property owners and the county. There wasn’t a clear-cut or simple way to request a court order for property cleanup, no matter how long the problem had been going on or how significant the impact was on the community,” explained Amanda Webb, Director of Planning & Development/Environmental Health.

After July 1, if a property owner still does not comply with a court order, Riley County can hire a contractor to abate the nuisance. The property owner will be billed for the abatement costs, but any salvage proceeds from the removed items will be credited to the owner. If the salvage value exceeds the cost of abatement, the property owner receives the net proceeds from the sale.

Several rules and regulations will govern the abatement process, and it will not apply to any agricultural-related activities or items. This new process is intended to ensure compliance, but not interfere with any approved activities on any land within Riley County. “Most people comply after one or two letters. Unfortunately, there have been instances where a property owner refused to comply even after a court order. Now, with this new tool, we can mitigate unsafe conditions more effectively. We will use it sparingly and judiciously,” Webb stated.

If you see unsafe conditions or nuisances that could harm the health of Riley County residents, please notify Environmental Health by calling 785-537-6332. For more information about SB384, visit the Kansas Legislature website at

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