SF Mayor London Breed addresses the issue of vacant storefronts

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The mayor of San Francisco wants to do something about those vacant storefronts in neighborhoods across the city. London Breed supports relaxing some of the rules and regulations that have kept small businesses from expanding or moving in.

For example, when the city found out that the owner of Heartfelt in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood had a sales table outside the store, they asked her to take out another permit-- the cost, $300.

"I felt like wow, how can you make something so simple and sweet for people, not in the way, plenty of room to pass if you were in a wheelchair, why would you make it difficult for us," expressed Darcy Lee, owner of Heartfelt.

"The permitting process, the city bureaucracy, the layers of taxes, the complicated mixed messages between department has to stop," warned Mayor Breed.

She and Supervisor Vallie Brown will soon introduce legislation with the purpose of speeding up the permit process to get more businesses to open their doors. They also want to allow some stores to expand without necessarily getting yet another permit.

That legislation must first be approved by the San Francisco Small Business Commission after public hearings.

The city may also ease the rules for pop-up stores. The President of the commission is in favor of these changes.

"They hire form the neighborhood, the people who are in the neighborhood tend to spend their money in the neighborhood," explained Stephen Adams.

In the meantime, the office of Economic and Workforce Development is now working with business owners to assist them with the permitting process.

"We add so much to a neighborhood with community and kindness, it's really important to have small businesses in a walking block in San Francisco where people live," said Lee.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.