Editorials

June 20, 2014

Leawood should drop rules that prohibit lending libraries in front yards

Good luck to the city of Leawood as it attempts to extract itself from the tempest created when a family’s front-yard lending library was found to be in violation of the city code. While obviously the city doesn’t want people constructing carports or dog houses in their front yards, lending libraries are an asset. Complaining neighbors should wander over and borrow a book.

Good luck to the city of Leawood as it attempts to extract itself from the tempest created when a family’s front-yard lending library was found to be in violation of the city code.

Mayor Peggy Dunn said she has put the topic at the top of the agenda of the July 7 City Council meeting. That’s appropriate. Lending libraries have become Leawood’s hottest topic since media reports about the forced removal of one family’s front-yard structure went viral this week.

“I’m hoping there might be some resolution that we can come up with,” Dunn said.

Leawood officials said they checked out the front yard belonging to Brian Collins and his family after receiving a couple of complaints about their “little free library,” which was a gift from 9-year-old Spencer Collins’ grandfather.

Like other lending libraries popping up in neighborhoods around Kansas City, this one is colorful, friendly and a wonderful gesture to neighbors. But it was also a detached structure in the front yard, which violates Leawood’s building code.

The Collins family removed the structure, though none too quietly, and is asking the city to amend the code.

That’s what should happen. While obviously the ambiance of Leawood would take a hit if people started constructing carports or dog houses in their front yards, lending libraries are an asset. Neighbors who might be worried about them should wander over and borrow a book.

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