After rejecting proposed rules changes what would have allowed for backyard greenhouses, the Leawood City Council is moving forward with consideration of another type of detached residential structure: pool houses.
In a split decision late last month, the Leawood City Council denied the allowance for greenhouses, and subsequently all detached structures, on private properties within city limits.
The six ordinance amendments had been previously approved by the Leawood Planning Commission and would have allowed for greenhouses in the backyards of properties the size of one acre or larger.
But those measures were rejected by the council in a 4-3 vote at its meeting in late January.
The main concern voiced by the council at that time was that allowing for greenhouses might create what some councilmembers characterized as a slippery slope for residents wanting other larger detached structures on their properties.
“The council was a little bit divided as far as going down the road of larger detached structures because it was also mentioned that there’s a couple people out there who would also like to see sheds,” said Mark Klein, assistant to the director of Leawood Community Development.
Several councilmembers were in opposition to allowing sheds, saying they feared the structures could be too unsightly and not aesthetically pleasing in some Leawood subdivisions.
Pool houses will be looked at more closely
However, even though the council officially denied the allowance for greenhouses and voiced an opposition towards sheds, that does not mean the discussion about other detached structures is over.
At a meeting earlier this month, the council weighed an idea brought forward by several residents to allow for pool houses.
“I know the city of Leawood is concerned about maintaining a certain aesthetic, but there are reasons why these structures are necessary to keep the beauty and charm of Leawood,” resident Jason Holiday said.
Holiday argued allowing for pool houses in which residents could store the necessary equipment to maintain their property would ultimately create more aesthetically pleasing homes.
“With my property being over 66,000 square feet, I don’t believe a shed or pool house would hinder anyone,” he said.
Plans in the future
After over an hour of discussion following the residents’ testimony, the council unanimously voted to allow city staff the opportunity to work on new regulations that could allow for pool houses.
“I can understand that one size doesn’t fit all with these ordinances,” Councilmember Chuck Sipple said.
He said he recognized that not allowing any type of detached structures in Leawood could be a potential hindrance to some residents, especially those with either larger lot sizes or people with no space to add an additional attached structures to their homes.
Many others on the council came to a similar consensus saying, in theory, they would not be opposed to pool houses as long as they met a set certain requirements that could keep them aesthetically pleasing.
City staff will work in the next following months to construct a plan for what those requirements could potentially be for detached pool houses on private property.
Once a plan has been made, staff will present it before council in a work session. If approved, the regulations would go back to the planning commission before being officially voted on by city council.