SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)
In an effort to deter storefronts from being kept vacant for long periods of time, San Francisco Mayor London Breed signed legislation Wednesday to streamline the permitting process for small businesses.
Breed, along with Supervisor Vallie Brown, first announced the plan back in December to fill vacant retail spaces, which they said had multiplied due to shifting shopping trends and slow sales.
“Despite our strong economy, it’s clear from the number of storefront vacancies throughout our city that our small businesses are struggling to open and operate,” Breed said in a statement.
“I’ve heard from countless business owners that our city’s complicated, redundant permitting process delays them from opening and is often too restrictive when a business wants to do something like start serving food. We need to be flexible to adapt to the challenges they’re facing, and this legislation will help do that,” she said.
The legislation would streamline the permitting process by “clarifying ambiguous provisions in city codes and eliminating redundant requirements for different uses, such as live music and food services,” Breed’s office said.
Brown said the legislation “simplifies our permitting and zoning rules to make it easier for small businesses here to get open and stay open.”
She added that she’s proud of the changes that have improved the respect and recognition neighborhood commercial corridors receive.
The legislation ultimately aims to increase opportunities for retail, restaurant and nightlife businesses and allow them to enhance neighborhoods.
“With many pressures facing small business, creating opportunities for them to succeed is essential to the economic and cultural vibrancy of San Francisco,” Joaquin Torres, director of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development said.
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