What would you change about the City's laws?

Posted July 15, 2014 at 8:45 am

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Do you know of any outdated Kansas City, Mo., laws?

If so, then the city can use your help.

City administrators are asking the public to suggest timeworn ordinances and regulations — or dead letters as the city is calling them — that should be considered for repeal or modification. Because the city is more than 150 years old and has dealt with nearly every political, social, economic and environmental crisis during that time, some laws are no longer effective or practical in today’s world, especially for business owners.

Assistant City Manager Rick Usher said the Kansas City City Council has already repealed or modified several ordinances to assist small business owners, with the help of the Special Committee on Small Business.

"We're really looking for codes that inhibit a business owner's ability to operate or just trip them up," Usher said.

Usher said along with regular city held meetings with department officials, he's also been working with longterm customers.

"People who regularly deal with these ordinances know our issues better than we do," Usher said. "One of the more interesting ideas that has come up is to make it easier to plant trees in front of businesses."

Comments may be made online through KC Momentum, the City’s virtual town hall at www.kcmomentum.org. In a press release, Sixth District Councilman Scott Taylor said in 2011 and 2012, the city opened a discussion on www.kcmomentum.org to engage with and facilitate a dialogue with small business owners. The website helps small business owners who want to be heard and work toward removing obsolete ordinances. Dead letter suggestions will be reviewed by the City Council, the city’s Business Process Management Team and KC BizCare, the city’s business customer service center.

"We've gotten a lot of activity on the website," Usher said.

Through the website, Usher said, he sees the conversation as open ended. Although residents have less than one month to submit suggestions for the dead letter office, he imagines the city will again start collecting suggestions after a couple months of reviewing the one they receive now.

"I've already started commenting on a few suggestions to show we're engaging with the public," Usher said. Suggestions on the website include removing the smoking ban in bars and adding a carpool lane to I-35. "It's interesting to see real discussion going on through the website."

To learn more about the city’s dead letter office, please contact Assistant City Manager Rick Usher at richard.usher@kcmo.org or 816-513-6559. If you have a suggestion on repealing or modifying an old ordinance, visit www. kcmomentum.org.