San Francisco to finally fulfill vow to businesses 

click to enlarge Ed Lee. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Ed Lee.

Small-business owners know City Hall can be a pain, but it appears overdue relief is on the way.

When voters approved Proposition I in November 2007, it created the Small Business Office with an assistance center to focus on the needs of San Francisco companies that have fewer than 100 employees. It also required that the office submit within four months of opening a report on how to make life easier for small-business owners to obtain permits, pay annual fees and the like.

The office opened in May 2008. The report never came.

On Tuesday, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu asked Mayor Ed Lee during the monthly question-time session about whether the mayor will make sure the voter mandate is fulfilled.

“I will commit to you that by July 1 of this year we will file that report,” Lee said.

As they say, better late than never.

Lee also took the opportunity to highlight initiatives he’s made since January that could improve the lives of small-business owners.

“We are developing an online business one-stop service that will make it easier for businesses to identify necessary permits,” Lee said.

Come March 2013, business owners will receive one itemized bill of licenses for renewal instead of multiple mailings with forms to fill out, Lee said.

Opening a business in town can be mazelike.

“We’ve all seen the YouTube video on how difficult it is to navigate the 13 definitions for eating and drinking uses. It would be amusing were it not,” Lee said.

To help with that, he said the Planning Department has figured out a way to condense 13 definitions into three “while still maintaining the neighborhood controls.”

Still, Lee said The City needs to do more.

“We have a lot of work to do when it comes to making it easier for our small businesses,” he said.

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