Prop. H wins, will reform sluggish process for a modest company to get permits

A ballot evaluate aimed at streamlining San Francisco’s cumbersome and high-priced permitting method for modest enterprises prevailed at the polls Tuesday.



Mayor London Breed was a proponent of Proposition H, which streamlines the city’s business-permit process.


© Nick Otto / Special To The Chronicle

Mayor London Breed was a proponent of Proposition H, which streamlines the city’s business enterprise-permit approach.


Proposition H kept a commanding guide in the vote Wednesday afternoon , with all precincts reporting and extra than 320,000 mail-in ballots tallied.

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It necessary a basic vast majority to go.

Prop. H is supposed to make it less difficult for small new organizations like storefronts and dining places to open up and for current kinds to alter the sort of enterprise they interact in, by cutting down the time it can take to get permits. It demands town departments to do the job in tandem, does away with the need to have to notify neighbors about many proposals, and mandates completing most allow reviews inside 30 days — rushing an agonizingly slow process that normally keeps shops from opening doorways regardless of currently being on the hook for rent.

“I’m thrilled that our City’s smaller companies will ultimately get the relief from the pink tape and highly-priced paperwork that tends to make it so hard for them to be successful and endure,” Mayor London Breed explained in a assertion. “San Franciscans wholeheartedly assistance their community small firms and they confirmed that at the ballot box. I want to thank the modest business enterprise group that worked so tough with me to pass this measure.”

Prop. H also will allow merchants, dining places and bars far more versatility in working with out of doors areas eating places to rent area to co-doing work corporations and retailers to let pop-ups in vacant retailers. In addition, nonprofits will be allowed to operate out of vacant stores.

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The measure does not alter any legislation pertaining to chain outlets. All chain outlets are demanded to go as a result of a procedure that features neighborhood notifications.

The city’s streets were being peppered with vacant storefronts very long prior to the pandemic. A Chronicle investigation very last yr discovered that e-commerce opposition, lengthy waits for permits, substantial rents, high design fees and required seismic retrofits contributed to the blight.

The pandemic has vastly worsened the crisis. In accordance to a September Yelp report, roughly 3,000 enterprises have closed forever throughout the Bay Location considering the fact that shelter-in-position overall health orders — critical in curbing the spread of the coronavirus — took effect in mid-March.

Supporters of Prop. H consist of many community merchant groups, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Gate Cafe Affiliation. Supporters experienced lifted $545,900 as of Nov. 2.

Opponents of the measure include things like some household community teams, these kinds of as the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council, and specific inhabitants, although no funds experienced been elevated against it as of the close of Oct. Undertaking away with the public notification method in advance of opening companies is unfair, opponents say, and such changes really should come about by the Board of Supervisors as a substitute of the ballot.

Breed and former Supervisor Vallie Brown tried out making some of these adjustments by means of the Board of Supervisors final calendar year, but only a watered-down variation of the laws handed, main Breed to go instantly to voters this 12 months.

Prop. H could be amended by the Board of Supervisors just after a few years.

San Francisco Chronicle staff writer J.D. Morris contributed to this report.

Shwanika Narayan is a San Francisco Chronicle team writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @shwanika Instagram: @shwanika

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