Prairie Village homebuilder lobbying hard against design standards set to go before planning commission next week

The Gregorys home on 69th Street drew criticism from some neighbors who said its modern design didn’t fit the character of the rest of the area.

A homebuilder and Prairie Village resident whose own teardown-rebuild project drew criticism from some of her neighbors two years ago is making an aggressive push to scuttle a new set of home design guidelines set to go before the Prairie Village planning commission next week.

Lynneah Gregory, who is president of Mission-based Reconstruct KC, sent emails to members of the Prairie Village city council on Wednesday that featured photos of the councilmembers’ homes and explanations of how the buildings might not meet the guidelines if they were built today. Some members of the governing body were put off by the emails.

Gregory also lent her name to a press release distributed by the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City that argued the new guidelines would have “unintended consequences” for current homeowners. In the release, Gregory said that because the new restrictions would “impact new builds and remodels equally,” she believed they would discourage refreshing of the city’s housing stock.

“I fear current and potential residents will look elsewhere to meet their housing needs if these standards are approved,” Gregory said in the release.

At issue, Gregory said, are parts of the regulations that require minimum amounts of green space and standards for the arrangement of windows. Because the design guidelines would affect any project that changes the roofline of a home or adds more than 200 square feet to the building.

“This will affect my clientele in Prairie Village when they desire to add a dormer, patio or laundry/mudroom bump-out,” Gregory said.

Gregory and her husband Allen moved to Prairie Village in 2015 and demolished a traditional home adjacent to Prairie Park on 69th Street to make way for their new, modern design. It attracted the criticism of some neighbors, who said it was too big for the lot and didn’t fit in architecturally with the rest of the neighborhood.

The Gregorys’ home design, which was approved by the city in 2016, would not conform to the set of design guidelines the planning commission will consider next week were they in place today because it has more than 40 percent of the lot covered by impervious surface. The proposed requirements would limit impervious surface to 35 percent as part of efforts to keep buildings in scope with their lots and prevent stormwater issues.

The Gregorys hosted a campaign event for Serena Schermoly in July ahead of the mayoral primary last month. Schermoly was one of two members of the Prairie Village city council to vote against sending the new design standards to the planning commission for approval on August 6. Schermoly has also expressed concerns that the new guidelines would affect residents who wanted to make additions to their homes.

Gregory said she’s hoping to be granted time to speak at Tuesday’s planning commission meeting to voice her concerns there, as well. The planning commission meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Prairie Village City Hall. If advanced by the planning commission, the guidelines would go before the council in October for final approval.