SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco voters passed Proposition H making it quicker, easier, and cheaper to open a business in the city.
Prop H amends the planning code and tax regulations code which involved a grueling permitting process that would often take more than a year and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“A lot of cases, these businesses were already principally permitted, which means they had the highest designation. They were literally allowed by the planning code and they still would take 12 to 18 months to open and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars because one person or one competitor in many cases was able to pull the strings and hold up the project, just bleed the money out of the business. It was anti-competitive. It wasn’t right and it was anti-democratic and this took an ax to that,” said Ben Bleiman.
He owns several bars in San Francisco and represents 400 other bar owners as the founder of the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance.
Ben helped write Prop H, which now speeds up the permitting process for small businesses by requiring a 30-day review and inspection process for businesses allowed by code to operate in a district.
“Great new flexibility for existing businesses and huge streamlined process for new businesses so we’re really excited about this,” Bleiman said.
Other business owners like Joey Mucha say this is a long time coming.
“It helps other people’s businesses who won’t have to go through what I went through for the planning change of use. I think what it will do is help the community of small businesses gets vacant storefronts filled as efficiently as San Francisco possible,” Mucha said.
Prop H will also help businesses already operating in the city by allowing flexibility to their business models.
“For example, you’re able to rent out space if you have a nice patio like I have. I can rent out space to people who maybe wanted to work for my patio. Now that doesn’t mean I can hire WeWork to come on in and do it. It would just be on an ad hoc basis,” Bleiman said.
For the first three years, Prop H also allows the board of supervisors to expand the scope of code changes but not narrow it.
Many in the business community are hopeful that Prop H will help fill vacancies from the pandemic.
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