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Minutes for SB346 - Committee on Local Government

Short Title

Restricting who can propose rezoning amendments to city and county zoning regulations.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 6, 2024

Revisor Jason Long (Attachment 1) gave an overview of the bill.

Chair McGinn opened the hearing on SB346.

The first proponent to speak on the bill was Lori Sharp (Attachment 2), city councilwoman from Prairie Village. She stated that this bill is not about local control but homeowner control and property rights. Clearer zoning laws, which the bill addresses, are necessary in order to protect those rights.

Rex Sharp (Attachment 3) spoke in support of the bill. He noted that the bill changes very little but clarifies what has been the law for a long time. A property, once zoned, shouldn't be subject to rezoning without a property owner's consent. The bill clarifies language so that terms are clearly defined to remove ambiguity. He also stated that the bill does not limit cities and counties in doing what they've always been able to do.

Stephen Platt (Attachment 4), in support of the bill, addressed the committee. Although he is not directly effected by this issue, he is concerned about government overreach in this area. Since municipalities have greater resources and funding at their disposal than the average citizen or citizen groups who oppose rezoning, they need to be held to a higher standard of due process in rezoning activity.

Bob Gibbons (Attachment 5) stood to speak as a proponent of the bill. He noted that homeowners often invest thousands of dollars into their homes over years of ownership. Therefore, when city councils amend existing zoning codes causing devaluation of property, it goes against natural law.

Tim Swanson (Attachment 6) was a proponent for the bill, as well. He spoke to the seemingly political and ambiguous nature of the rezoning process that occurs between zoning committees and city councils.

Proponents stood for questions from the committee members.

Proponent written testimony was received for the committee to review from: A-F (Attachment 7), G-M (Attachment 8), N-S (Attachment 9), T-Z (Attachment 10).

Dan Warner (Attachment 11) spoke in opposition to the bill. He stated that the bill would hinder a city's ability to initiate rezoning in order to promote development or redevelopment in communities that would really benefit from it. The ability to upzone or downzone enables a planning commission to improve the functionality and livability of the city or county.

John Goodyear (Attachment 12) testified against the bill. He stated that the bill is a significant departure from the established norm. The bill would not result in greater community involvement but impede governing body from responding to the needs of the community.

Leslie Karr (Attachment 13) also addressed the committee in opposition to the bill. To pass the bill would eliminate a city's ability to initiate rezoning. While rare, it is an important tool for cities to utilize and exercising it does require statutory processes to ensure that property owners receive fair due process.

Jay Hall, Deputy Director and General Counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties, stood to speak against the bill. He noted that striking out certain parts of the bill that require public notification seems unsound and had concern for the process of how unzoned counties, desiring to be zoned, would be able to easily do so.

Those who gave testimony in opposition to the bill stood for questions from the committee.

Written only testimony opposed to the bill was received from:

Tim Danneberg (Attachment 14), Director of External Affairs for City of Olathe,

Stephanie Peterson (Attachment 15), President of the Kansas Chapter of the American Planning Association,

Stuart Little (Attachment 16), Little Government Relations, and

David Waters (Attachment 17), Mayor for City of Westwood.

Chair McGinn closed the hearing on SB346. Meeting adjourned at 10:18 a.m.

The  next meeting is scheduled for February 8, 2024.