Volker downzoning clears final hurdle


Alice Stine, Lynda McClelland, Susan Kysela and Diane Kapps were at city hall to encourage council support for the Volker downzoning effort.

Alice Stine, Lynda McClelland, Susan Kysela and Diane Kapps were at city hall to encourage council support for the Volker downzoning effort.

The Volker neighborhood celebrated its successful downzoning efforts after a hearing at city hall yesterday.

After more than a year of effort, the council’s Planning and Zoning Committee yesterday approved the downzoning proposal. “This will help us maintain the present single-family environment of the neighborhood,” President Susan Kysela said after the vote.

Several Midtown neighborhoods have “downzoned” over the years. After gathering support from neighborhood residents, they have made application to the city to generally restrict property use to single-family residences and discourage the conversion of single-family homes to multiple apartments.

“I think this will help us stabilize the neighborhood,” Alice Stine, who was active in the downzoning effort, said.

Although much of the Volker neighborhood was downzoned in the 1990s, a portion of the northern part of the neighborhood was not. The area is generally bounded by W. 32nd Street on the north, W. 39th Street on the south, State Line Road on the west and Wyoming, Roanoke and Karnes on the east.

Efforts began after a controversy over a multi-unit house, which neighborhood residents were surprised to learn was legal under a city zoning ordinance adopted in 2010. The city later denied a building permit for that project after neighborhood protests.

The multi-unit house was legal under the old R-2.5 zoning designation, but not under the new R-5 classification.

With the University of Kansas Hospital planning to expand and other interest in development in the area, Volker residents say they hope the downzoning will help the neighborhood retain its single-family character.

The city said the neighborhood will need to post a notice on every door in the downzoned area to notify owners they have one year to file for a Certificate of Nonconforming Use (CLNU) without a charge.  That allows existing “non conforming” uses to be grandfathered under the new zoning as long as they were legally established under the previous zoning requirements and have applied for a CLNU.


  1. Congratulations to the Volker neighborhood! I attended several of their meetings. I was very impressed by the leadership and the neighbors’ willingness to work together to accomplish this important restriction on the kind of buildings that would be allowed in this area of very old residential housing. Good job!

    Julie Tenenbaum
    West Plaza Neighborhood Association

  2. George Niewrzel says:

    Way to go, VNA!

    George Niewrzel

  3. Donovan Mouton says:

    Congrats to Volker leadership and residents!

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