KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – It started off with the woman who lived in a West Side neighborhood and a potential home built next to it. She said it was too close and could hurt the foundation of her home.

She won her case and won over some folks in her neighborhood and beyond when she and her husband found a zoning rule that could now be removed to loosen what’s allowed.

“Speculators and developers are going to have a field day,” Jerry Rosenburrough, West Side resident, said.

They spoke before a city council committee considering the change proposed by non-elected city staff.

“Will this open the floodgates for development that will change in how we want Kansas City to look and feel?” Marquita Taylor, Sante Fe Area Council, questioned.

The ordinance in question aims to remove a restriction that was added in 2011. Some homes built at the turn of the century are on lots just 25 feet wide.

The 2011 restriction said, in certain cases, land parcels can’t be sold for new building unless they are at least 30 feet wide. Those who want things loosened said, 25 feet fits. Require bigger and you could be worse off.

One example, Mayor-Elect Quinton Lucas brought up is at 22nd and Brooklyn. These are new homes, on smaller lots, he said they fit the urban character. Across the street on bigger lots, things look more suburban.

“A lot of people like the density,” Laura Burkhalter, Southmoreland resident, said.

“If the lots aren’t buildable they are going to become run down and they are going to become eyesores,” Ashley Amos, realtor, said.

Amos had pending sales on this block held up by the dispute.

“We chose this neighborhood because of the fabric, because there are 25-foot lots, because they are close together,” Douglas Stockman, West Side resident and architect, said.

He lives in the West Side, but he’s also the architect who designed the yet-to-be built home at the center of the dispute.

“This is not just a West Side issue. This is a citywide issue,” Keith Spare, Brookside resident, said.

“Is this appropriate for the neighborhood?” Laura Evrard, Indian Mound resident, questioned.

Those last two say no. In the details, it’s an argument over just five feet. But on a deeper and broader level, it seems to also be about things like gentrification and identity. The council committee decided not to vote Wednesday, saying they needed more time to get input.

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