The Prairie Village City Council on Monday got a look at a second round of proposed design standards intended to ensure that new homes in the city that are part of a wave of teardown-rebuilds better match the aesthetics of the surrounding neighborhood.
The city in 2016 adopted a first set of design guidelines that set a limit on home height at either 35 feet or 29 feet, depending on the zoning of the neighborhood, and set a minimum setback on the sides of a home.
After nearly two years of additional study and work with an ad hoc committee made up of home building professionals and residents, city staff on Monday gave the council an overview of additional guidelines it hopes to bring forward for council approval in July.
A memorandum prepared by Assistant City Administrator Jamie Robichaud for the council summarized the most significant changes as follows:
1. Landscape and Frontage Design – these standards would promote the character and quality of streetscapes, improve the relationship of lots and buildings to the streetscape, and provide natural elements and green space to compliment development. The specific standards address the following:
a. Street trees
b. Frontage greenspace
c. Greenspace on entire lot
2. Building Massing – these standards would break down the volume of the buildable area and height into smaller scale masses in order to improve the relationship of the building to the lot, to adjacent buildings, and to the streetscape.
a. Wall planes and side setbacks
b. Front entry encroachments
c. Other massing and encroachments
d. Windows and entrances
e. Garage limits
f. Building foundations
g. Accessory structures
…The committee recommends that these standards should apply in the following situations:
1. When any new structure is built
2. When construction activity occurs that adds more than 200 square feet of building footprint to an existing structure
3. When construction activity occurs that alters the form or massing of the front elevation
or roof structure.
Staff are planning to make tweaks to the recommendations based on feedback from staff and present the guidelines to the public at a series of open houses in May before bringing a final draft to the council for approval later this summer.
Though the teardown-rebuild phenomenon has affected several northeast Johnson County cities, Prairie Village has seen the most activity, with more than 50 projects between 2015 and 2017 and several more in the pipeline.
City planning consultant Chris Brewster’s slideshow summarizing the design guidelines is below: