Volunteer committee working to solidify design guidelines for Prairie Village rebuilds

A group of PVHA homeowners are hoping new design guidelines will keep the charm of area neighborhoods intact as more and more homes are rebuilt.

A group of Prairie Village Homes Association homeowners have launched an effort to formalize design guidelines for renovations and rebuilds in a part of Prairie Village.

The campaign comes after more than a year of work from the seven-member group, which formed in response to controversy over the size and design elements of many of the homes rebuilt on the lots of torn-down Cape Cods in the area. In 2007, a group of Prairie Village Homes Association homeowners filed a lawsuit against Mark Eddy, who tore down his Prairie Lane house and replaced it with a two-story colonial. The neighbors contended that Eddy had violated a 1.5 story restriction laid out in the PVHA deed restrictions. Judge David Hauber sided with Eddy in the case, arguing that the 1.5 story restriction was too vague to be enforceable.

In the wake of that decision, a number of neighborhood homeowners have debated what the proper size and height regulations for the area are and how they can be made enforceable.

Katie Trenkle, an architect who designed her own Prairie Village rebuild, is among the leaders of the group pushing for an “overlay district,” and said the goal is to ensure neighborhoods in the homes association retain the charm that has made the area an attractive place to live while giving people the ability to rebuild with a home that has the amenities modern families look for. (Eddy is a member of the group as well).

A similar undertaking in the Countryside East neighborhood resulted in the adoption of new design guidelines there in 2013.

To be adopted by the city council, however, the group will either need to collect signatures from more than half of the homeowners in the overlay area or get the city council to approve the overlay proposal. Trenkle said the group is starting by going directly to the homeowners, collecting signatures through a Change.org petition and via community meetings. The first such meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 23 at the Prairie Village Community Center.

The new design guidelines would apply to parts of three Prairie Village wards. The group has set up a website explaining the initiative here.

A review of the proposed overlay guidelines and a visual presentation are embedded below: