The Prairie Village City Council met last night for a SPECIAL WORK SESSION concerning the Village Vision 2.0 Comprehensive Plan. You can see the agenda and packet HERE.
The topics on the agenda tonight were:
We never really discussed these items individually. Most of the council members covered all three together in their comments for or against the current draft of Village Vision 2.0.
As I think I’ve covered before, two of our council members are unhappy with the process that got us to this draft. This was a process that both councilors were present for and approved in 2018 before I joined the council, and there have been benchmarks along the way to raise the red flag at.
Village Vision 2.0 was meant to be a “refresh” of the original 2007 Village Vision (1.0 if you will 😉). A refresh to get us through another 20 years or so, because we had actually achieved or made progress toward most of the items set forth in the original 20-year Village Vision:
- more park space (Meadowbrook, Wassmer)
- neighborhood design guidelines
- rehabilitation of existing housing stock (Exterior Grant Program)
- encouraging a mix of transportation options (Bike/Ped Plan)
- and more
This refresh was in lieu of a full-scale complete re-creation from scratch of a 20-year plan. And lucky, too, since COVID-19 ended up curtailing some of our latter presentations and hearings!
The biggest concern brought up on this process was the lack of resident involvement. And I agree wholeheartedly that it would be wonderful to have input from all 22,000 Prairie Village residents. And I have done what I can as your councilperson to get the word out about the various meetings and surveys over the past year across all the platforms that I use or have used in the past: email, website, twitter, facebook, nextdoor. The city also used all the resources at their disposal: Village Voice, website, twitter, facebook… I think there were probably even postcards.
The reality is, though, you can’t make people be engaged, and at some point you have to move forward with the input you have from the residents who are engaged. We HAVE allowed for more time to review the draft and tweak as we need to, so hopefully we’ll get more input, but even if we don’t: we still have a REALLY GOOD document to help us guide improvements and direct development to meet our needs and stay within our parameters.
While I have you, here is the newest survey link to share your thoughts:
So, back to the draft. Based on their comments last night, most of the remaining council members (9, we had one absence) seem to also believe that this is a really good draft. Some of my takeaways from the discussion were:
The new draft identifies two established and two emerging “Village Centers” and gives specific ideas for strengthening and redeveloping as appropriate while maintaining their pattern, form, and character:
- The Village Shops
- Corinth Square
- State Line Commons (HyVee)
- 95th & Nall
Now, PV doesn’t own these properties, but with a comprehensive plan and an engaged council, mayor, and staff (which we have) we can educate and encourage developers to propose what we’re looking for!
To support the comprehensive plan, we as a governing body, with the residents’ support, can enact policy to encourage or require certain aspects of the plan using modest incentives. For example: attainable/workforce housing or sustainability benchmarks.
Density, Diversity & Attainability
Neither I nor any of my fellow council members are seeking density for density’s sake in our city. The discussion around density is really a means to two ends (maybe more).
I had SO many conversations with residents last summer, and I still do, about being priced out of their homes and having nowhere in Prairie Village to go or downsize to. Many of us say, myself included, if we tried to buy into PV now, we would never be able to afford it.
We NEED more housing options at all ranges of affordability for our residents. Places to downsize into. Places to “age in place” in the city in which you’ve lived all of your adult life (or longer). Places to get your foot in the door of a community that has so much to offer young singles and young families.
We also are striving to have more diversity and social inclusivity in Prairie Village. Diversity of socioeconomics. Diversity of cultures. Diversity of backgrounds. Diversity of viewpoints. To do that we need a diversity of housing options. Being open to slightly higher density opportunities in the aforementioned Village Centers will help us work toward those goals.
We have many partner resources available to help us achieve our goal of increasing our workforce housing, rehabilitating our existing housing stock, and planning for the future. MARC (Mid-America Regional Council), UCS (United Community Services of Johnson County), and our peer cities just to name a few.
MARC is working on a Regional Housing Partnership and updating their Home Ideas Book for reinvesting and modifying our 1950s homes to age-in-place. As the partnership and accompanying advisory board flesh out, this will be an invaluable resource for housing trends and viable solutions from around the metro, and the revised Ideas book will offer even more and better-illustrated ideas for making our homes livable into our golden years.
UCS recently completed a county-wide survey to assess the housing problem and create a 10-year outlook. From their website: “The survey collected information about Johnson County residents’ experiences with housing, as well as their opinions about the current status of housing in the county, and what housing options are important to residents across all ages and stages of life. The findings from the survey will be released as part of the 2020 Johnson County Housing Market Study report and will be used to draft a 10-year outlook on housing that local officials can use to make policy decisions in the future.“
What an exciting time to be in Prairie Village! The possibilities are endless.
That’s all for now. We have our next Village Vision 2.0 work session on November 9th. To be notified of the meeting and get the Zoom link to watch, please sign up for our Prairie Village eNews.
And, PLEASE reach out to me if you have any thoughts or questions on the Village Vision 2.0 Comprehensive Plan at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to hear from you. You can also respond anonymously to the survey.
STAY WELL & enjoy the week!