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Kansas CityStar, 1963

Lawsuit Filed by M. J. Burton Seeks to Have Zoning Ordinance Thrown Out


Resident Says 27 of the Lots Are in That Category—Unchanged Since 1929

A lawsuit seeking to have the city zoning ordinance relating to dwellings on Janssen place declared invalid and unenforceable was filed yesterday in the Jackson County Circuit court on behalf of M. J. Burton, 6 Janssen place.

The petition filed by J. K. Owens, attorney for Burton, names as defendants the city; Carleton F. Sharpe, city manager; William A. Row, building commissioner, and C. M. Kelley, police chief.

Duplexes on Six Lots

It alleges the ordinance, which limits the one-block, 32-lot street to one-family dwellings, is invalid because since it was passed in 1929 the city for all practical purposes has abandoned the restriction by giving building permits to owners of six lots for building duplexes and permitting them to build duplexes housing more than one family.

It further alleges that when the ordinance was passed Burton’s property was being used as a multiple dwelling, and that now 27 of the 32 lots are occupied by more than one family and only three are not.

The houses on Janssen place are now suited only for rooming houses and apartments, it alleges, and the entire neighborhood adjoining it has been spot zoned for apartment buildings and businesses.

Arrest Is Threatened

It alleges that by reason of the present use and condition of property on Janssen place the ordinance is unreasonable, denying the property owner the right use of his property.

It further alleges that now the city is threatening to enforce the ordinance, even to the point of arrest of offenders.

Owens said last night that enforcement by the city was forced by one of the three property owners whose lot is occupied by only one family. He said the owner has been complaining to the city necessitating the suit.