Roeland Park removes conflict in code that prevented residents from taking advantage of new front porch guidelines

Right now, covered front porches in Roeland Park are restricted in their size and extension from the house.
Restrictions on covered porches were eased last year.

A conflict in ordinances that prevented Roeland Park from effectively allowing more front porches to be constructed is being removed.

Last year the city council approved changes that eased restrictions preventing residents from constructing front porches because of a setback requirement. The city wanted to encourage front porches because they would enhance the “neighborhood feel” and allow neighbors to interact with each other.

However, many of the Roeland Park neighborhoods are covered by deed restrictions. Roeland Park Building Official Mike Flickinger said only about 15 percent of the city’s residents could take advantage of the new front porch provisions. An application from a resident to expand a front porch, taking advantage of the relaxed porch setback regulations, brought the conflict to the staff’s attention.

Roeland Park code requires that any covenants that are more restrictive than the city zoning regulations prevail when building permits are issued. Since most of the houses in the city are under deeded restrictions, that effectively limited the application of the new front porch rules.

Amendments brought to the council Monday now make an exception for open front porches. Only the city code will be considered when issuing permits for front porches and not private covenants attached to the property. Although covenants are common, only a small portion of the city is covered by home owners associations.