Your Rights When Others Rezone

Your Rights When Others Rezone

One of the other claims I've heard lately is that land-use reform is taking away rights from the residents. The claim is that by getting more use rights, homeowners are losing rights. It's not a coherent point, but it's usually backed up with some wording about "due process" to make it sound like it is.  But it's not due process or how the democratic process works.

If one claims that changing any ordinance or law violates due process rights, they're claiming that the rules can never change because due process entitles them to the same version of the rules in perpetuity. That's not what due process means.

In a previous post, I listed what "by right" means concerning zoning and land use. Use by right is neither new nor does it erase your rights concerning the properties around you that you do not own. By right, uses are specific and defined by the zoning code. Owners' due process rights are in place to ensure the zoning codes are enforced evenly, and requests for deviations from zoning standards are handled openly and fairly.

The council is investigating expanded land-use rights for property owners. Giving owners new, specific things they can do on their property without forcing them to apply for a special use permit or rezoning can help us achieve various goals to make our community more sustainable, attainable, and vibrant. If homeowners don't receive new rights via reforms, they will continue to seek special use permits or rezoning permission from the city. We are investigating land use reform and how expanding zoning allowances will help us meet city goals, both short and long-term.

Some folks have claimed that any change to the zoning could eliminate a property owner's "right to object" and "right to be notified" regarding a change in zoning. This is false and deliberately misleading.

Due process rights will be unaffected by changes to allowances in Prairie Village's zoning districts. If a property owner wishes to build something not explicitly allowed by the rules or to rezone, neighbors will be notified and have a right to participate in a public hearing and potentially file a protest petition. This rezoning process is provided for by state statute.

The Council, Planning Commission, and city staff will continue to work to ensure that our zoning codes provide the best possible land use for the residents of our city. This is the case in single-family and multi-family neighborhoods and our commercial districts.

It's perfectly fine to disagree about the appropriate land-use changes here in Prairie Village. Still, any changes to the zoning districts, by right or otherwise, will not revoke or change anyone's due process rights.