Planning & Urban Design

Improving lives through the power of design.

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VISION: A Department that advocates for the greater good with empathy, professionalism, and expertise. 

MISSION: To enhance the long-term value and livability of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas through the creation of a regenerative community that is socially just, economically accessible, culturally diverse and environmentally sustainable. 

We consistently improve the built, natural, social and cultural environments through strategic planning, urban design, local development reviews, and zoning enforcement efforts. In collaboration with our many partners, we support public officials and empower citizens to realize their shared vision of the future.

Want to learn more about Planning and Urban Design? Follow the links below to see a brief overview of the work we do on your behalf:

2023 Citywide Comprehensive Plan Update

In 2023, the Department of Planning + Urban Design will launch the Citywide Comprehensive Plan, an update of the 2008 Citywide Master Plan. This plan occurs parallel to multiple other large planning efforts - the Citywide Historic Preservation Plan, Economic Development Strategy, and Housing Strategy. Each of these projects will serve as chapters of the 2023 Citywide Comprehensive Plan. Other topics covered in this plan include public safety, transportation infrastructure, food systems, sustainability, arts and culture, open space preservation and land use.


2023 Citywide Comprehensive Plan: An Overview of Long-Range Planning Slides(PDF, 2MB)

Upcoming Board and Commission Hearings

Attention: Planning & Zoning/Full Commission for January 26, 2023(PDF, 135KB)

Attention: City Landmarks Commission Public Hearing Procedures for February 6, 2023(PDF, 91KB)

Attention: Board of Zoning Appeals/City Planning Commission Public Hearing Procedures for February 13, 2023

Note: All Board of Zoning Appeals, City Planning Commission, and Landmarks Commission hearings are back to in-person meetings (Board of Commissioners Chambers: 701 North 7th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66101) with a hybrid option.

Proposed Kansas City, Kansas Historic Commercial District

The creation of a Historic District in Downtown Kansas City, Kansas will bring recognition to the city's history and preserve that history for future generations. This project is 30 years in the making and represents one of the largest undertaking by the Department of Planning and Urban Design through its Historic Preservation office. This listing on the National Register of Historic Places will pave the way for historic buildings to have access to tax rebates and grants to repair and rehabilitate those buildings and help bring economic revitalization to Downtown Kansas City.

Streets for People

By making all of the COVID-19 emergency ordinances and resolutions permanent, the Department of Planning and Urban Design has been working across the Unified Government to allow your business to better utilize the public right-of-way, sidewalks, setbacks and off-street surplus parking spaces for outdoor service and retail sales. Specifically, we encourage each commercial property to repurpose one of its on-street parking spaces, if available, to be converted into a “parklet”. Parklets transform curbside parking into vibrant community space (See Streets for People Design Standards Guide below). Additionally, the Board of Commissioners (BOC) have expanded where farmer’s markets and mobile vendors (i.e., food trucks, push carts, and mobile markets) are allowed to operate by-right. Finally, residential streets can now register with Livable Neighborhoods to designate themselves as “Open Streets” in order to minimize through traffic and provide a safer place for outdoor recreation.

For more ideas on how to expand your business into the public realm, please see the below resources:

Below is the full text, including all of the required standards, of each Streets for People Ordinance. 

Complete Streets

The purpose of Unified Government’s Complete Streets Ordinance is to accommodate all road users equally by realizing a balanced road and trail network that safely moves people, not just vehicles. Furthermore, this Ordinance directs Unified Government Staff to consistently plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain streets to accommodate all road users, including, but not limited to, pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit riders, motorists, emergency responders, and freight and commercial drivers, and people of all ages and abilities, including children, families, older adults, and individuals with disabilities.

With significant community input and support, the new Complete Streets Ordinance, which codifies this more inclusive understanding of all new public and private infrastructure projects within the public right of way, is a follow-up to the 2011 Complete Streets Resolution (see below). These best practices are currently and will continue to be integrated into the public realm citywide.

Ongoing Plans and Projects

Recently Adopted Plans and Projects

Airbnb and Short-Term Rentals

Are you interested in hosting guests with Airbnb, VRBO, or similar service? These activities are a commercial use and require a Special Use Permit in the Unified Government. Current hosts should apply immediately. Read more about short term rentals here.(PDF, 214KB)

If you want to set up a short-term rental either within your home or for an entire property, you must submit the below application for a Special Use Permit:

Special-Use-Permit-for-Short-Term-Rental-Application.pdf(PDF, 2MB)

Short-Term Rental Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Coming Soon



Featured Links


Department Head

Director Gunnar Hand, AICP