PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — Yard signs from two different groups on opposite sides of a debate on housing policies have popped up along streets throughout Prairie Village, Kansas.
The City designated an ad hoc committee to make recommendations on how to make the city more affordable and diverse while maintaining the integrity of neighborhoods.
An early look at the recommendations call for allowing accessory dwelling units [ADU] on plots with single-family homes in areas zoned R-1, the majority of the city.
An ADU is often a detached, small building like a garage or carriage house. The recommendation would allow property owners to build an ADU under a “by right” clause, meaning they wouldn’t need to notify neighbors or hold a public hearing for additional input before proceeding.
Just last month, Kansas City, Missouri, adopted an ADU policy of its own.
The Prairie Village recommendations also call for exploring whether to allow more multi-family duplexes and small apartments to about 10% of the city zoned R-2, R-3 and R-4.
“I would personally love to see duplexes, triplexes, apartment complexes,” Danny Terreros said.
Terreros created the group Prairie Village For All in support of the housing policy recommendations. He said a trend of developers tearing down 1950s homes and replacing them with $1 million mansions hurts affordability.
“It’s about making it more affordable, not just for me, I love it so much I want it for everybody,” Terreros said.
Another group, PV United, opposes the housing recommendations. It created signs reading “stop PV neighborhood rezoning.”
In a statement, a lawyer working with the group says the ADU proposal to increase density is “not practical in fully-developed cities like Prairie Village.”
Matthew Gough said the recommendation creates a blanket policy that doesn’t take in to account how ADUs impact a neighborhood’s character and value.
In particular, PV United takes issue with the “by right” clause.
“PV United supports the goal of ensuring that all people are able to obtain affordable housing, but its members share a common desire to retain their right to participate meaningfully in the public process when changes in use are proposed in their neighborhoods,” Gough said in a statement.
Terreros and the Prairie Village For All group argue property owners should have the right to decide what they want to do with their own property.
The city’s planning commission will review the recommendations Oct. 25. The city plans to gather input from the public and host a series of hearings over the next several months.
The city council wouldn’t vote on adopting any formal recommendations until next year.