Last December, when the Kansas City Council approved Westport's proposal to curb after-hours violence to allow screening for weapons on weekend nights, the bar district's owners expected to have new metal detector checkpoints up and running around April 1.
So in the aftermath of gunfire early Sunday morning at Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue that injured two people, the question was: What happened to the enhanced security?
The answer, according to city officials and Westport leaders: plats. A plat is the principal legal document used to record how land is owned and divided.
Police are barred from searching for concealed weapons on public property, so the city agreed to privatize some sidewalks in the Westport Community Improvement District.
That meant the legal descriptions of properties in the targeted area — Pennsylvania Avenue from West 40th Street to Archibald Street, and Westport Road from Broadway to Mill Street — had to change.
That meant new plats.
Both the city and Westport business leaders agree that the platting process — involving surveyors, title companies, lawyers and sign-offs from 22 individual property owners — is taking longer than expected.
What they don't agree on is why.
Over the weekend Kim Kimbrough, executive director of the Westport Regional Business League, which represents the district's businesses, put the finger of blame on City Hall, saying they were "still chasing the requirements that the city has placed on us," adding that "the most onerous" was the 22 signatures.
City Manager Troy Schulte said Tuesday that Westport made the process more difficult than it had to be by submitting inaccurate legal descriptions that needed to be redone. He expressed some irritation over the fingerpointing.
"That's part of why I'm a little bit frustrated with them, because we went through the process," he said. "What you're doing is taking a piece of sidewalk that used to be public property and you're adding it to the adjacent property. It's a very technical, arcane issue and it only involves four to six feet of space. But it's the procedure whenever you redraw those property lines."
Kimbrough and other Westport business leaders did not respond to interview requests Tuesday. Their attorney, Charles Renner, declined to comment.
A spokesperson, Stacey McBride, acknowledged that there were mistakes in drawing up the new plats but that they were "rectified immediately."
The bigger challenge now, she said is securing the remaining property owner signatures, which she described as "two or less."
She said the owners and their attorneys have to be in the same room, which has been a problem.
"When the lawyers are traveling, the business owners are back in town. When the lawyers are back, the owners are traveling," she said.
McBride said she could not offer a specific date for all the paperwork to be completed, only that it will be sometime this summer.