The Prairie Village city council on Monday will consider a policy proposal that would let residents formally protest the construction of a new sidewalk on their street.
Since 2000, city policy has dictated that all city streets have at least one sidewalk. Arterial and collector streets — those that attract the most traffic — are required to have sidewalks on each side. Residential streets are required to have sidewalks on at least one side. As presently written, the policy provides no avenue for residents to lobby the city to exclude their street from the sidewalk requirement. But over the course of the past decade, residents have protested several planned sidewalks projects and the city council has acquiesced — creating a situation where the council isn’t adhering to a policy it adopted.
After dozens of residents turned out at the last city council meeting to protest planned sidewalks on their streets, the governing body agreed to revisit the sidewalk policy to see if it could come up with one that it could apply consistently.
Working with city staff, Councilors David Morrison and Ted Odell devised a proposal that would provide every homeowner along a proposed sidewalk route with a formal vote petition process to voice objection. If 75 percent or more of the homeowners whose properties abut a proposed sidewalk disapprove, the project would be canceled. Morrison and Odell’s new policy would read as follows:
For residential / local streets, property owners who abut the street with a proposed sidewalk project may contest its construction. Public Works will send a written notice of intent to construct a sidewalk to the property owners abutting the street. The notice will be sent certified mail (no return receipt) to the first property owner of record as listed on the Johnson County land records. The notice will include a vote petition which the property owner can indicate approval or disapproval of the construction of the sidewalk. The vote petition must be received by Public Works within 30 calendar days of the mailing of the notice. No response is counted towards approval of the construction of a sidewalk. There is only one vote petition per residential property.
If 75 percent or greater of the vote petitions indicate disapproval, then the sidewalk will not be constructed as part of the street project. If more than 25 percent of the vote petitions indicate approval or are not returned, then the sidewalk will be constructed as part of the street project.
The council will take up the matter during its Committee of the Whole meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Monday at Prairie Village City Hall.