Roeland Park survey will ask residents whether they want city parks smoke free, how to address teardown-rebuild issue

The teardown-rebuild wave hitting northeast Johnson County is among the topics covered in the survey. File photo.

Roeland Park residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on teardown/major remodeling guidelines, satisfaction with the updated leaf pickup program, and provide suggestions for pool programming when they receive their 2019 citizen survey. Residents can also indicate whether they want the city’s parks to be completely smoke free.

A citizen survey drafted by Roeland Park officials inquires about support for smoke free parks.

Councilmembers discussed the draft version of the 7-page questionnaire during Monday’s workshop meeting. Once finalized each Roeland Park household can expect to receive a survey in the mail. The survey will also be available online.

The questionnaire will allow residents to provide feedback on how much authority they would like the city to have on directing design aesthetics for new homes and significant remodels and weigh in on which design elements they feel most strongly about. Options include the size and height of a house, setbacks, windows and doors on each elevation of the home, driveway widths, and the percentage of impervious surface (like concrete) allowed. Prairie Village has been dealing with similar issues, and passed a new set of design guidelines last year.

Councilmember Jen Hill successfully motioned to swap out a question about the importance of a home’s color with a question about the importance of a home’s exterior building materials.

“We don’t need to talk about the color of the house,” Hill said. “We are not an HOA.”

Future of pool also a focus on questionnaire

Roeland Park will move away from year-round operations at the pool to a summer-only schedule.

Three questions focus on program enhancements for the Roeland Park Aquatic Center, which councilmembers recently decided would shift to summer-only operations.

Residents can weigh in on which upgrades they would like to see at the pool. Among the options are replacing the vortex pool with a lazy river or inflatable challenge course, replacing the kid pool and sand pit with spray-ground features, replacing deck furniture, incorporating children’s interactive play features, and adding shade structures.
Preferences for how the pool upgrades are paid for will also be listed on the survey.

Councilmembers unanimously agreed to remove a question from the survey that asked whether residents want the Department of Public Works to contribute more hours toward maintaining parks and green space, while noting this additional effort will cause a decrease in hours spent on street and sidewalk maintenance. Councilmember Hill said she felt the question pitted the city’s parks against street and sidewalk maintenance. Two residents also spoke in opposition of the question during the citizen comment portion of the meeting.

A question on whether or not to make the city’s parks completely smoke free was also a brief point of discussion. Councilmember Tom Madigan said he was in favor of having smoke-free zones within parks instead of making them completely smoke free.

“I don’t think people should be smoking around the children,” Madigan said. “…But at least two of our parks are large enough where smokers can be away from the children and still enjoy a cigarette.”

Madigan’s suggestion did not gain enough support to progress.