Prairie Village, Kansas

 A proliferation of newer, bigger homes in Prairie Village has some residents concerned about preserving the Kansas suburb's existing look and feel. (GOOGLE EARTH)

A proliferation of newer, bigger homes in Prairie Village has some residents concerned about preserving the Kansas suburb's existing look and feel. (GOOGLE EARTH)

THE PROBLEM:

Quiet, suburban Prairie Village is straining to retain its once modest charm and character. The town’s affordability, proximity to Kansas City, and good school system has attracted young buyers who are anxious to build larger houses for their growing families. Small homes are being torn down and replaced by large ones that encroach on property boundaries. As town lot sizes are not big, many long-term residents are increasingly concerned about the loss of vegetation and reduction in privacy. They also worry that the new houses will inflate property taxes, making it impossible for some to continue living in Prairie Village.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS:

In 2016, the City Council of Prairie Village voted to amend zoning ordinances, reducing the maximum home height from 35 feet to 29 feet, and increasing the required distance between homes and property lines. The legislation also mandated that the width of newly constructed homes not exceed 80% of their lot size. In 2018, the city council proposed additional regulations that would require 65-70% of each lot to be planted with vegetation, and would restrict garage and driveway size and placement.

PROGRESS:

The newly proposed legislation is expected to reach planning commissioners in September 2018 and advance to city council by the following month.

— Cassie Dana, One Big Home Researcher


PRAIRIE VILLAGE PROFILES:

Mayor Laura Wassmer.jpeg

Laura Wassmer

Mayor, Prairie Village, Kansas

“One of the most complex issues our community has ever dealt with is finding the appropriate balance between maintaining the character and desirability of our neighborhoods and allowing new homes that better suit the needs of today’s homeowners. With 30–45 homes being torn down each year, we felt we had to quickly adopt new housing guidelines that could be supported by the majority of our residents and governing body before it was too late.”


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