Sunday, July 1, 2007
Raytown Home Property Values Threatened
It is an oddity of our times that people who bemoan the fact of undervalued homes in Raytown would bring legislation that will ultimately drive residential real estate values down even further. Consider the following story. Let’s pretend you are planning to buy a home in Raytown. You have studied MLS listings, visited open houses, talked to realtors, and, finally, after a couple of months of work, made a short list of three potential homes. All the houses are located in nice neighborhoods. You like the schools that serve the area and they are convenient to where you work. You decide to walk through each house one last time before making your decision. That’s when you start to make discoveries. HOUSE #1: You drive up to the house. You get out of your car – and – the neighbor's dog comes running to greet you. You start to get back in the car when you notice the dog comes to a very abrupt stop. You let out a sigh of relief. The dog is tethered. Not that you don’t like dogs. But that is one HUGE dog, and you wonder if you want to be greeted by that animal every night when you come home from work. You also wonder what happens if he breaks loose from the tether. House #1 is stricken from the list. HOUSE #2: You arrive at the second house. At least the selection process became easier. You only have two houses left to choose from. You walk through the yard. No dogs tethered in the neighbors front yard to greet you, so everything is fine. The house looks good. You go into the back yard and your senses are assaulted by the odor and sound of an unkempt dog run full of a litter of puppies. The puppies and their mother are crammed into the run. Flies buzz around the filth at the bottom of the cage. You look along the back of your potential neighbors house and you see three other holding pens. Across the yard you see three dogs resting under a tree. The owner of the house sees you and introduces himself. He tells you he raises dogs as a hobby. Says the city allows each animal to get pregnant once a year. “Not to worry,” he says, “I keep them on my property all the time, they seldom get out.” Though he does confess that when the animals are in heat that stray dogs in the area do have a way of finding his house. You thank him for the information. House #2 is stricken from the list. HOUSE #3: You drive up to House #3 a little shaken by the past two houses, but still optimistic – this was the one you really wanted anyway. The neighborhood is more upscale – you don’t see any sign of animals tethered in front yards or breeding of dogs in back yards. You do, however, notice a couple more “for sale” signs in the neighborhood than the last time you were by – about three weeks ago. You catch one of the people with the new “for sale” signs in the neighborhood and ask what’s going on. He points two doors up the street at a partially dismantled 1967 Chevy Nova. The rusted body surrounded by car parts. He tells you, “this used to be a nice neighborhood, everyone took pride in their homes and it was quiet and we respected each other’s space. Then the City Council passed an ordinance allowing people to restore cars in their front yard – I’ve had enough, I’m moving out!” You remember an old political adage about people voting with their feet. Thank him for his time and drive back to your apartment. You pick up the newspaper and turn to the real estate section and starting looking for homes – in Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs. Though the story above is fiction – it could happen in Raytown. On Tuesday night the Board of Aldermen will consider amendments to the animal control ordinance that will allow tethering of dogs in front yards and breeding of animals in residential neighborhoods. The amendments were sponsored by Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere (seconded by Ward 2 Alderman Jim Hamilton) at the behest of political gadfly Shirley Whitman. Aziere and Whitman have held gatherings encouraging people to attend Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council on their behalf. Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer has brought a discussion item that calls for the licensing of homeowners to keep disabled vehicles in their front driveways.