Brookside Homes Assn Establishes New Overlay District For The Neighborhood

Driving around Brookside, Waldo, and Prairie Village,  every so often you will see a brand new home built on an empty lot where an old house once stood.  Occasionally,  these homes may not  blend in with the surrounding houses. It could be the location on the lot, the height of the home compared to others, or the architectural style (for example, a modern design  in a 1920s nieghborhood).  Here are two examples, both homes in Brookside:

5729 Wornall Rd


59th and Grand


Homeowners in the Wornall Homestead Homes Association (392 homes) decided to explore ways of preserving the original character of the neighborhood.  The newly built house at 5729 Wornall (at top)  was the catalyst for the action.  Opinions vary on the design of the house itself; what caught the attention of the surrounding  residents was the smaller setback from the street compared to the adjacent homes.

I recently talked with Sandy Eeds, a retired architect and Vice President of the WHHA, to learn more about the process they used in creating the “special character overlay district”  for their homes association.

After doing some initial research on the original deeds restrictions from the 1920s  (long since expired), and current zoning requirements, Sandy met with the KCMO Planning Department who suggested the use of an overlay district.  The WHHA board agreed to pursue this approach and began the long process of engaging and educating the homes association residents on the idea.  Eeds explains:   “The broad intent was to preserve the character of the neighborhood by maintaining the basic density and other features that were important to the residents.  We started conversations with neighbors by suggesting a return to JC Nichols’ original deed restrictions, such as preservation of the original setbacks and the small number of architectural requirements contained in them.”

Eeds and the board members held many meetings to hear residents’ concerns and listen to their input.  What did the neighbors want to see restricted–and what not to restrict–when a homeowner is making exterior renovations or building a brand new home in a 1920s era development?  The consensus was to create a “neighborhood conservation overlay district”  as set forth in the Zoning and Development Code that would define the WHHA’s own guidelines for land use, maximum lot size, building size, fencing requirements and other features. The intent was not to regulate taste or delve into the more subjective aspects of home design.  For example, the minimum ground floor size must be 800 SF (no so-called ‘tiny houses’) and no lot aggregation that results in a lot more than 8000 SF.  Maximum building height is 35′, and there are some material restrictions:  no artificial stone, or metal panels.  Anything not addressed in the ordinance is covered by the existing  R6 zoning (minimum lot size of 6000 SF for residential home).  As with any zoning category, homeowners can request a variance subject to the usual Planning Department application and hearing process.  Also addressed in the ordinance are rules for bed and breakfast businesses and short term stay rentals (like AIRBNB).

After draft language was completed, it was mailed to all property owners prior to the association’s annual meeting.  Members of the board then went door to door obtaining signatures of support for the ordinance  on a petition, with a goal of over 50% in favor.  It was important to build consensus in the neighborhood before presenting to city government committees.  After years of hard work, planning and clear communication with everyone involved, it passed through the Plan Commission, Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee and City Council.  The effective date was August 3, 2017.  The official name of the ordinance is the Wornall Homestead Overlay District and it is the first residential overlay district, with the exception of certain historic overlays,  in Kansas City MO.

Oak house good

Oak and 63rd St

waldo good house

On 72cd St between Oak and Main

We do have a few examples of newly built homes in Brookside and Waldo that blend in well with the neighboring homes.  (See photos above).  Both of these homes have incorporated exterior design, details and features of the surrounding houses and fit well on the lot.   On the Kansas side in Prairie Village, the same thing is happening–some new houses  compliment the surrounding properties while others almost shock passers by as to how much they contrast  with the homes next door. Here are two examples from PV:

mic house

On Prairie Lane in Prairie Village

PV shocker

under construction in Prairie Village at 69th and Tomahawk.

What do you think?  Is it important to have newly built houses  in older neighborhoods complement surrounding homes?  When a new home is built on the majority of the lot with little greenspace, how does that affect nearby property values?  Would you support such an ordinance in your area? If your  neighborhood association is interested in creating an overlay district, Sandy would be happy to talk with you.  You can reach him at





KSU Students Build New Duplex in Waldo

It’s common knowledge that most major cities need more affordable housing. Wages have not kept up with inflation; many people work two or three low paying jobs with no benefits and just barely keep it together regarding basic monthly expenses for food, shelter, transportation. So it was with a keen interest I recently went to the grand opening of the 7509 Penn duplex in Waldo–a unit designed to address the growing affordable housing crisis.

front porch

The project, a partnership between Botwin Commercial Development, el dorado inc architects and Kansas State University’s School of Architecture Design+Make Studio and Studio Build. The goal is to design and construct high quality, affordable housing with rent that is based on individual income levels, based on federal guidelines. Each unit is 735 square feet, with two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, living space, and laundry room on a concrete slab. You can see the minimalist, contemporary design here, featuring metal roofs, a steel and wood front porch plus shared exterior space between the two units to promote community and interaction among the residents.


David Alpert

At the grand opening last week, I spoke with David Alpert, a KSU grad who works for Botwin. He explained that the students involved did everything: they made the cabinets, put up the siding, designed the space and chose the materials to use. “Affordable housing is needed everywhere” says Alpert, talking about how it was exciting to have students learn by doing–they started the project and saw it through completion. Alpert is particularly interested in affordable multi-generational housing, for which there is a growing demand. So many retired older adults would like to live independently, but also close by or connected to younger members of the family, in separate quarters. This type of housing needs to be built with affordable prices for those on more modest and middle class incomes.  Part of the challenge regarding new, affordable housing is lack of vacant land near city services (public transportation, shops, grocery, services, jobs) and the profit motive for builders. 

Thanks to KSU and their partners for bringing at least two, new affordable housing units to the popular Waldo area…it’s a start!  You can see this duplex at 7509 Pennsylvania, just south of 75th and Pennsylvania in Waldo.

street view

New Shop in Waldo: Hawthorne and Ivy

hawthorne front

There’s a new boutique shop in Waldo–tucked away in a former gas station  from the 1920s!  Hawthorne and Ivy opened a couple of weeks ago at 7142 Wornall, just south of Betty Rae’s and next to Michael Avery’s hair salon.

You may be familiar with Hawthorne and Ivy’s shop in Weston.  This is shop #3 for owner Elinor Hagan Lowe.  She started out designing custom ‘mother’s bracelets’ , following in her mother’s footsteps.  Elinor runs Paco Designs in Lenexa, then came the Weston store, and now the Waldo spot. 

Hawthorne and Ivy

Unique Jewelry Hanger–also comes with wine corks

Step inside and you will find all the items attractively displayed on the walls and tables–it’s an easy store to browse!  There is lots of jewelry, including the mother’s bracelets, and so much more:  Royals gear, candles and soaps, clothing and accessories plus some baby items and wall art.  The thing that caught my eye was this handmade necklace hanger:  a piece of wood with champagne (or wine) corks attached to hang the jewelry.  You could also stick  earrings in the cork as well.  This shop also takes old wood from barns and doors, then repurposes it to customized wall hangings.  You can order with the phrase or name of your choice, or purchase one with the lettering in place.  This would make a thoughtful housewarming gift!  The shop also carries special religious jewelry for first communions or baptisms–and don’t miss the special 50% off room in the back of the store!  If you are interesting in making your own jewelry, Hawthorne and Ivy hosts craft classes around themes like Valentine’s Day or Christmas.

hawthorne inside


Shopping at locally owned stores and shops is what makes living in Brookside and Waldo so special.  You will find items that just aren’t available at a national retailer.  Stop by and welcome Hawthorne and Ivy to Waldo!  Hours are still being established; generally noon-6pm Tuesday through Saturday.  Convenient  parking in front of the store (or on 72cd St) at 7142 Wornall, between Michael Avery’s and Betty Rae’s. Find them online at

Waldo Home Sales Report-June 2017

Just two years ago, the median price of a Waldo home was 16% lower than it is today.  Home owners are gaining so much equity in this popular area in a relatively short amount of time.  Let’s examine the stats:  here are the single family home sales for Waldo (State Line-Holmes; Gregory to 85th St) for June 2017 and a comparison to last year.

June 2017

Median list price:      $177,000

Median sales price:   $184,500

Days on market:            3

No. of homes sold:       46

The lowest closed price was $97,000 and the highest was $345,000.

June 2016

Median list price:         $183,900

Median sales price:      $178,000

Days on market:               7

No. of homes sold:          37

This year, homes continue to sell over list price and in a very short amount of time.  Checking year to date figures:

Jan-June 2017

Median list price:       $175,000

Median sales price:    $177,500

Days on market:             22

No. of homes sold:         209

Jan-June 2016

Median list price:        $167,888

Median sales price:     $168,500

Days on market:              22

No. of homes sold:          179

Many sellers continue to get offers over the list price as buyers make multiple offers.  Waldo is a super hot market right now for homebuyers!  Currently there are 22 active homes for sale, with a median list price of $234,700 and 19 days on market.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed).

Armour Hills Home Sales Report-June 2017

Armour Hills continues to be one of the most desirable neighborhoods for Brookside home buyers–most listings do not stay on the market very long.  The stats back that up–so here’s the June 2017 home sales report for Armour Hills, with comparisons to last year.

June 2017

Median list price:       $294,950

Median sales price:    $306,000

Days on market:              34

No. of homes sold:          17

Out of the 17 homes that closed last month, 12 were sold at or above the list price.  One house sold for $15K over asking price.  Lowest sales price was $168,500 and the highest price was $450,000.

June 2016

Median list price:        $279,475

Median sales price:     $284,500

Days on market:                3

No. of homes sold:           12

You can see that even last year, many homes were selling for over the list price. Now let’s check year-to-date stats.

Jan-June 1017

Median list price:       $317,250

Median sales price:    $313,500

Days on market:             6

No. of homes sold:        54

Jan-June 2017

Median list price:        $279,000

Median sales price:     $275,000

Days on market:              16

No. of homes sold:         40

Median sales prices in Armour Hills are up 14% year to date.  Most home sales occur in the first six months of the year–we will see how the second half of the year shakes out.  There is still strong demand for well maintained, updated homes in our neighborhood.  Usually the market slows down in August through mid September–I’ll be watching to see if that is the pattern for 2017!

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)





Brookside Home Sales Report-June 2017

Here we are, midway through the year, and Brookside homes are still in strong demand for homebuyers, especially those under $500,000.  Let’s look at single family home sales in the Brookside zip code of 64113 for  the month of June 2017:

June 2017

Median list price:            $372,000

Median sales price:        $367,500

No. of homes sold:             40

Days on market:                 20

The lowest sales price was $168,500 and there were two sales over $1,000,000.  Checking last year stats:

June 2016

Median list price:            $344,250

Median sales price:         $342,000

No. of homes sold:              42

Days on market:                 37

Now let’s look at year to date figures:

Jan-June 2017

Median list price:             $375,000

Median sales price:          $360,000

No. of homes sold:             159

Days on market:                 18

Jan-June 2016

Median list price:            $369,000

Median sales price:         $364,500

No. of  homes sold:            166

Days on market:                 41

Technically, the year to date figures show a slight decrease in the median price compared to one year ago but that hasn’t been the usual pattern this year. Prices are generally higher than 2016.  Note the June comparisons show a 7.4% price increase compared to same time last year.  The demand is for homes priced below $500K, especially the $250-$400 range.

Currently there are 42 homes for sale in the Brookside zip code of 64113. However, the median list price is $612,450.  Over half – 25 homes – are priced over $500,000.  The higher priced homes sit on the market longer and push up the median price. The lowest priced home is $210,000 and the highest is $2.5 million.

(All figures taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)



Brookside East Welcomes Grab & Go Food Spot

bite verticle

Brookside East continues to gain more tenants, and one of the newest is Can I Have A Bite, the grab and go food store that moved to 633 E 63rd St in late March from a Wornall location in Waldo. Owner Kathy Hale focuses on healthy food, prepared on site, using locally sourced and organic ingredients when possible, with a menu that changes weekly.



bite food

Cashew meatloaf, sweet potatoes with chili pepper, basil roasted Brussel sprouts and rosemary balsamic beets

For busy professionals and those with food allergies, Can I Have A Bite can be a regular stop for specialty lunches and dinners. Kathy offers frozen entrees you heat up yourself—or she will have it hot and ready if you call ahead. There is an array of salads, soups, energy bites and full meals you can choose from. With this expanded location, she’s added some new options: a “Create Your Own Entrée”—you choose an animal or vegetarian protein, two sides and a sauce or cheese topping. There is also a “Healthy Belly Bar” with balsamic, bitters and tincture ingredients to create beverages for specific digestions; and a few fresh mocktail options. Plus, Kathy has added sandwiches featuring Gabrianna Bakery breads and fresh French pastries on Saturdays.   Local art, available for purchase, is showcased on the walls and there is  seating if you want to dine in.


bite KathyPersonal service thrives here–Kathy takes so much pride and care into creating these special, tasty options for her customers. She really understands how different folks have various food limitations (or dietary preferences) and tailors to her clients. This new location also offers much easier parking options, just outside the front door.


Can I Have A Bite is located at 633 E 63rd St, next to Golden and Pine. Hours are Monday – Thursday 10am-7pm; Friday 10-5 and Saturdays 11am-5pm. Check the Facebook page for menu updates—call ahead with your order at 816 381 9101.