Battle over nuisance abatement ends in Jefferson City
JEFFERSON CITY- A battle between Jefferson City and a property manager came to a close this week after a lawsuit that lasted nearly four years ended in the Supreme Court.
At issue: dozens of properties with sagging frames, boarded up windows and overgrown yards.
The lawsuit between property owner Barbara Buescher and Jefferson City began in 2013 after the city billed Buescher more than $24,000 for maintenance and upkeep on her properties.
When Buescher refused to pay the fine, the city filed a civil suit against her. The case was appealed to the Western District Court, and then to the Missouri Supreme Court, which on Tuesday announced it would not hear Buescher's appeal.
Jefferson City also issued multiple nuisance abatements to Buescher, requesting that she perform various tasks to improve her properties.
"Whenever a property is exhibiting a nuisance such as tall weeds, unsecured buildings, trash, the city will issue an abatement," Neighborhood Services Manager Jayme Abbott said.
She said the city has been maintaining 23 plus properties for several years because Buescher "failed to abate or to take care of the nuisances."
The majority or Buescher's properties are between the state Capitol and the state penitentiary. Many of the homes are considered historic, with some pre-dating the Civil War.
When construction crews began working in the area, some of the Buescher's properties came under scrutiny.
"When we first started, the first thing we did was removed all the trees. and as we removed them you can see all of these houses, and some of them are in need of repair," said John Voss, a construction inspector working near Buescher's properties.
Abbott said the city believes the Supreme Court's denial of Buescher's appeal is good for Jefferson City.
"This is the end of the road for her, she has no other options.," Abbott said. "The city won the case. It's a great win for our community because it shows we can hold property owners liable in making sure they maintain or take care of the nuisances that are bringing down the property values."
Buescher's attorney declined to comment on the story.