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City Moves To Cut Red-Tape For Local Businesses
City Council approves changes to reduce regulation, speed up permitting
ANAHEIM, CA - (May 30, 2012) - On Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council approved several measures designed to make it easier to create and run a business in Anaheim. The changes, recommended last December by the Anaheim Regulatory Relief Task Force, will reduce the number of permits required by local businesses, from operating permits to parking variances.

“It is a good day when government moves to eliminate rules that impede, rather than encourage, job creation and economic growth,” said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “The elimination of these permits and the increase of staff flexibility will make Anaheim continue to be one of the most attractive places to do business.”

The Mayor’s Regulatory Relief Task Force released recommendations last December on ways to make it easier to do business in Anaheim by reducing compliance time, reducing cost and increasing certainty. This is the first of several code amendments needed to implement the Regulatory Relief Task Force findings. The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed Code Amendment at its March 26 meeting and unanimously recommended City Council approval of the proposed changes.

The code amendment addressed the following issues:

Reducing the Need for Conditional Use Permits
One of the Task Force recommendations is to “Reduce the Types of Businesses That Need Conditional Use Permits to Open.” Within the Zoning Code, land uses are categorized as permitted, conditionally permitted or prohibited. Conditionally permitted land uses are subject to review by the City’s Planning Commission through a public hearing that can add time and cost to the process of opening a business.

The Task Force identified 16 land uses that are conditionally permitted but typically approved with a set of standard conditions of approval. For example, veterinary clinics are often approved by the Planning Commission with the same conditions applied to each clinic. These conditions are intended to minimize potential impacts to neighboring properties. By allowing these businesses by right, and incorporating the conditions of approval into the Municipal Code as development standards, someone wishing to start or expand a business in Anaheim would be able to do so without the time and cost of a Planning Commission hearing, and potential impacts to adjacent properties would still be addressed. The same approach was used for other uses such as small markets, tutoring facilities and outdoor storage yards.

Reducing the Need for Parking Variances
Currently the city code requires parking be provided for all uses on site in a cumulative manner, without consideration being given to differing hours of operations. A parking variance can add significant time and costs to the process of opening a business as it is oftentimes necessary for an applicant to hire a professional parking consultant to prepare a parking study demonstrating that there are, in fact, enough spaces on site to support a proposed use despite the Code requirement. In order to provide relief in this area, the proposed code amendment establishes an administrative “Shared Parking Permit” process that would eliminate the need for many parking variances by allowing staff to consider the hours of operation of various uses sharing a parking lot when determining the required number of parking spaces for a property.

Reducing Regulatory Permits
City staff identified seven types of Business Regulation Code permits that can be eliminated because they are redundant with other city permits or are no longer necessary because the use is governed by other agencies. In addition, the code amendment made these specific changes:

  • State law prohibits cities from treating massage establishments that are staffed with massage therapists licensed by the California Massage Therapy Council differently than other similar types of personal services such as beauty salons and barber shops. The amendment will allow massage establishments to exist by right as required by state law.
  • Previously, business owners needed a permit to have accessory amusement devices, such as arcade games or pool tables, in their place of business. This change removes the requirement for a regulatory permit. This change was recommended after review by planning and law enforcement staff.

Background on the Anaheim Regulatory Relief Task Force

The creation of the Anaheim Regulatory Relief Task Force was announced in Mayor Tom Tait’s first State of the City address in January 2011. The task force, made up of innovators, business leaders and city staff, was asked to comprehensively review Anaheim’s regulatory environment and make recommendations on ways to reduce red-tape and regulation for area businesses. The 14-member task force, which was chaired by Dr. Thomas Turk, Associate Professor of Management at Chapman University, released its first set of recommendations in December. For more information on the task force and to read the complete list of recommendations, visit its website.


Media Contact: Ruth Ruiz 714.765.5060more city news

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ABOUT ANAHEIM – The City of Anaheim, founded in 1857, is one of the nation's premier municipalities and is one of California's most populous cities. Anaheim covers 50 square miles with more than 346,000 residents and more than 2,950 City employees. The municipal corporation's annual budget is $1.6 billion. Anaheim supports a thriving business community with companies such as Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc., L-3 Communications, Pacific Sunwear, and Disneyland Resort. Successful sports franchises call Anaheim home, including Angels Baseball, Anaheim Ducks, the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team, and the 2012 Olympic Games Silver Medal winning U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team. Anaheim also boasts world-class meeting and entertainment venues with the Anaheim Convention Center, LEED-certified and the largest on the west coast, Honda Center, City National Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim GardenWalk, and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. In addition, Anaheim embraces its vibrant cultural arts community, including the world-renowned Anaheim Ballet. Annually, Anaheim welcomes millions of visitors to the city, truly making it where the world comes to live, work and play. For more information, please visit www.anaheim.net.

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