Prairie Village sets hearing date on regulations to limit house height, establish minimum side yard size

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Prairie Village is taking the first steps to formalizing the changes staff have been working on with building professionals and city residents over the past several months to create better neighborhood consistency with the design of teardown-rebuild projects in the city.

The city announced on Thursday that it would hold a public hearing on the issue at the June 7 Planning Commission meeting. That hearing will provide interested parties with a chance to share their thoughts on a set of proposed design guidelines before the Planning Commission votes on whether to recommend its approval to the City Council. Should the commissioners vote in favor of the proposal, it would likely go to the council for a final vote later this summer.

The changes sent to the Planning Commission for consideration would encompass the following:

  • Establish the base point for measuring the height of the building as the finished grade.
  • For homes zoned R-1A, require that homes be no taller than 35 feet. Furthermore, no R-1A homes may be more than two-and-a-half stories tall.
  • For homes zoned R-1B, require that homes be no taller than 29 feet. Furthermore, no R-1B homes may be more than two stories tall.
  • For both R-1A and R-1B homes, require that the space on the side of a house be at least 10 percent the width of the lot.

City staff have indicated that these are the baseline changes that have received widespread support from the community and stakeholders over the months of work on the issue. But staff will continue to meet with residents, architects and developers to identify additional regulations that could advance the goal of preserving the character of the city’s sought-after housing stock. At its first meeting in April, the city council directed staff to fast track the items above while it prepared to take in further input on more-detailed changes that the city may consider in the coming months.

“After Phase 1 is completed, Phase 2 will begin by focusing on comments generated during the Public Forms concerning Residential Building Guidelines,” wrote Assistant City Administrator Wes Jordan in a letter to the presidents of city home owners associations about the process. “We are striving to achieve a broader ranger of opinions by engaging additional architects and developers in a collaborative process to develop workable ideas to shape the future of our community. We also plan to include additional considerations such as four-sided architecture and a materials list for exterior siding that was recommended by several residents who participated in the meetings.”

Jordan also stressed that whatever new regulations the city may ultimately pass would not supersede HOAs’ deed restrictions or covenants.

The Planning Commission meeting June 7 will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall.

Prairie Village may consider regulations to establish an acceptable list of siding materials in the future. (Shutterstock)
Prairie Village may consider regulations to establish an acceptable list of siding materials in the future, but they won’t be part of the proposed changes before the Planning Commission next month.(Shutterstock)