Council approves zoning category
Although not thrilled with the possible consequences, the De Soto City Council approved a new zoning classification that would open the city to typical Johnson County housing patterns.
With a 3-2 vote July 17, the Council approved a resolution creating an R-1A zoning classification recommended by the Planning Commission. As City Engineer Mike Brungardt explained, R-1A was the city's R-2 zoning without duplexes or town homes. In contrast to the city's existing R-1 single-family development option, which restricts lots to a minimum of 10,350 square feet with 90-foot frontages, R-1A would allow homes on lots of 7,500 square feet with 65-foot frontages.
During the Planning Commission's consideration of the new zoning classification last month, City Planning Coordinator Kim Gordanier said its lot sizes were consistent with those offered in other Johnson County cities. But unique to De Soto, the smaller R-1A lots would only be available to those developers reserving 10 percent of a subdivision's total acreage as green space.
As he made the Council's deciding vote, Emil Urbanek said he was doing so "with reservations." Earlier, he framed the debate when he speculated on the new classification's conse quences of where it would be used.
"I would hate to see everything out there become R-1A, because that (bigger lots) is the reason people come out here," he said.
Brungardt said developers could be expected to seek R-1A. But, he noted, the lot sizes it allowed weren't unprecedented For example, the planned Timber Lakes subdivision, near 87th Street and Penner Avenue, was zoned R-2, he said. Although its developers said the site wouldn't include duplexes, that commitment wasn't binding, the city engineer said.
Planning Commission members listed ending the practice of awarding R-2 zoning to single-family home developments as one of the reasons they proposed the new classification.
As for where the new zoning classification would be appropriate, Brungardt suggested some areas currently zoned R-1 in the "western part" of the city along Lexington Avenue and 95th Street. He said the locations would be more easily identified when the city's comprehensive plan is updated later this year.
The new zoning classification drew interest because it came before the Planning Commission as that board was considering a large subdivision for eastern De Soto.
The proposed Arbor Ridge subdivision on 90 acres southwest of Kill Creek Road and 83rd Street would be free to apply for the new zoning classification. It would allow the site to be home to about houses, as opposed to an maximum of near under R-1, he said.
As she has in the past, Marie Caldwell, a resident of that area, said she didn't want the site developed at R-1A density. She, too, wondered where the new zoning classification might be used.
The Council, Planning Commission and interested residents will considered desired housing densities for different sectors of the city as the comprehensive plan is updated in the coming months.
The effort will get underway with an open house at 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.. Aug. 19 at City Hall.