Do you want to start serving beer and wine at your restaurant? Prepare to pay the city at least $6,500 for what’s called a conditional use permit. Then, if you are granted that permit following a public hearing and review, you must then go through the same process again every few years to renew the same permit. This is part of a long list of city fees and regulations that L.A. business owners face. Now, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has proposed easing the burden on businesses, especially small businesses, when it comes to complying with city bureaucracy.
Of course, this is far from the first time that the city’s small business owners have heard of promises to reform a bureaucracy that many consider indifferent. But instead of a sweeping overhaul of city laws and fees, O’Farrell earlier this week unveiled a more measured approach to making the city more friendly to small businesses as they plan to open or expand. The “Open For Business” initiative “aims to streamline the way entrepreneurs obtain permits, cut the bureaucratic red tape associated with opening a business, and reduce the upfront costs for mom-and-pop operations to open their doors,” according a Council District 13 announcement.
At a presentation at the Trois Familia, the Silver Lake restaurant opened last year by chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, O’Farrell unveiled two City Council motions that are designed to benefit restaurant and bar owners as well as other entrepreneurs. If adopted, one of the motions would instruct city departments to review and recommend changes to conditional use permit fees that apply to small businesses. The second motion would have the Planning Department look into renewing conditional use permits without follow up public hearings for “good operators.”
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