Housing, Informational, Parks, Sustainability

Village Vision 2.0 Comprehensive Plan – Work Session Notes – 11/30/20

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

The Prairie Village City Council met Monday for the second of three SPECIAL WORK SESSIONS concerning the Village Vision 2.0 Comprehensive Plan. You can see the agenda and packet HERE.

The topics on the agenda tonight were:

  • Wrap Up Discussion from Work Session #1 regarding multi-story building and defining “affordable” housing
  • Neighborhood Patterns
  • Civic Campus

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the current draft of Village Vision 2.0 that we are reviewing and tweaking.

While I have you, here is the newest survey link to share your thoughts on Village Vision 2.0:


So, back to the discussion.

Wrap-Up from Session 1

“Affordable” Housing Definitions

We heard a remarkable presentation from Jonathon Birkel of Hunt Midwest and the Prairie Village Planning Commission breaking down single-family homes in Prairie Village, how much they cost and how much a homeowner’s salary would need to be to make that house affordable to them. He also touched on jobs and how many people drive into PV for work, and how many residents drive out of PV to go to work elsewhere. There were many more statistics and observations, but those were my favorite topics.

This was all in an effort to understand some background on housing and affordability leading into our discussion about a way to define “affordable” housing. “Affordable” is subjective to everyone. So we opted to break it down by Area Median Income (AMI*).

To ensure that a mix of housing affordability is maintained within the community, the following housing affordability definitions were considered and adopted for inclusion in Village Vision 2.0.

  • Workforce Housing – opportunities for housing that are affordable to those making less than 80% of AMI.
  • Attainable Housing – opportunities for housing that are affordable to those making between 80% and 120% of AMI.
  • Moderate Priced Housing – opportunities for housing that are affordable to those making between 120% and 200% of AMI.

Now, yes, we can argue that “moderate” is subjective, too, but these are the definitions we have landed on for now. 😊

* The Area Median Income (AMI) is the midpoint of a region’s income distribution – half of families in a region earn more than the median and half earn less than the median.

Multi-Story Definition

There have been a lot of hang ups on the inclusion of a 5-story building cap in the draft version (there was no cap listed in the original Village Vision). Much of the discussion, and probably the biggest reason we’ve extended this process, is because of this one issue.

It’s important to note that nothing in the Village Vision is law. Village Vision 2.0 will be merely a guiding document to assist staff when advising developers what they think the Council would be open to, assist the Planning Commission when reviewing submittals, and create a framework for Councils moving forward for the next decade or two. We can always say NO to a development, and all of our existing zoning ordinances support that. This does not give developers carte blanche to build a 5-story building on every corner.

So, after more discussion and then counseling from one of our contracted city planners, Abby Kinney, we opted to omit the specific number of stories completely from the plan. Instead, we call for new development to reinforce existing development patterns (both scale and height), with the exception that bonuses/exceptions may be considered if the developer is contributing to the Plan’s stated policies in an exceptional way, particularly if providing lower cost housing units.

In clear language, if the developer has a compelling reason and is bringing value to our community in multiple other ways through lower costs, sustainability, green space, etc., we are open to considering higher story structures than we might normally. Nothing is a given though.

Neighborhood Patterns

In consideration of existing neighborhood patterns, we voted to discourage lot splits** with exceptions only for compelling reasons providing a benefit to our community and neighborhoods.

**Lot split = Subdividing one piece of property into two pieces of property.

Civic Campus

So, this was already somewhat out of our hands and on indefinite hold due to COVID-19. In light of that, and not knowing how long it will take until the community is in a position again to want to revisit it, we voted to remove all references to possible partners and write it to say we’re open to future conversations about a civic campus.

That’s all for now.

We have our next Village Vision 2.0 work session on December 14th. 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 blimbird@pvkansas.com. I want to hear from you. You can also respond anonymously to the survey.

STAY WELL & enjoy the week!

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