Judge issues final ruling on three Prairie Village petitions

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — A Kansas judge has issued her final ruling on three Prairie Village petitions aiming to shake up City Hall.

Johnson County District Court Judge Rhonda Mason ruled two of PV United’s three petitions cannot go on the ballot.

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Those two petitions include:

  • One calling for a city ordinance to limit rezoning that would allow more than one family to live on a lot in a single-family residential zoning district.

  • One calling to adopt a mayor-manager-council form of government. It would reduce the power of the mayor by creating a city manager position and cut the number of city council members from 12 to six.

In her ruling, Mason said the “rezoning petition” is administrative and, under Kansas law, administrative ordinances are not eligible for the initiative process.

The judge also ruled the “adoption petition” was not in compliance with state law. Mason said the petition sought to adopt a new form of government and a new city council at the same time, which is against Kansas law.

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But the court did rule an “abandonment petition,” to abandon the city’s current mayor-council form of government, is eligible to go on a future ballot.

However, the city of Prairie Village cited state law that a city will continue its form of government until the form is changed, which the abandonment petition doesn’t do. So even if voters approved it, Prairie Village’s city government would continue on as it is now.

And while the court ruled the abandonment petition can go on a future ballot, they won’t be included in the upcoming November election.

Earlier this month, Johnson County Election Commissioner Fred Sherman said the petitions didn’t meet the county’s deadline to be ballot questions in November.

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“Due to logistics required to prepare ballots and the need to meet legally mandated deadlines, the election office is now past the point at which it can accept additional items for the November ballot,” election officials said in a statement.

The election office said the deadline is in place to make sure it can proof ballots, program and test voting machines, print advance ballots and more.

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