City Planning released a draft of its Local Emergency Code Amendment for public comment. The ordinance would take steps to eliminate financial and regulatory burdens on small businesses affected by the novel coronavirus. If adopted, it would expand the city’s ability to activate regulatory relief during a declared local emergency.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has not only impacted public health, but devastated the economy through job loss and business closures for many small and local operators. Among those affected are local restaurants, entertainment venues, retail stores, and gyms.
“Neighborhood businesses are critical sources of employment, providers of essential services, plus a staple of community identity,” said Director of Planning, Vince Bertoni. “The proposed ordinance aims to spur the recovery of these vital businesses as well as prepare a path for neighborhood recuperation in the future during declared citywide states of emergency.”
Consistent with direction by the City Council, City Planning staff proposes a regulatory framework that takes effect during a declared state of emergency and upon emergency order from the Mayor or by resolution from the City Council. The proposed provisions are active for the term of the local emergency and up to 12 months after its expiration or termination. Council can extend these provisions for a maximum of 36 months past the expiration of the local emergency as well as terminate these provisions after the expiration of the local emergency.
The proposed Local Emergency Code Amendment has two main components as outlined below. The first addresses the extension of time limits for the expiration of certain permits, and the second addresses automobile parking requirements. In limited situations, the second component would grant modifications to existing parking requirements for businesses that meet a set of specific eligibility criteria.
Extension of Time Limits:
-Conditional Use Permits (CUP) with a term limit or expiration are extended
-Utilization periods for certain approvals are extended
-Any concurrent entitlement, as part of a multiple approval, is eligible
Automobile Parking Requirements:
-Changes of Use for existing buildings will not trigger new parking requirements
-Conditions of approval requiring valet parking are suspended
-Conditions of approval requiring off-site parking above Code requirements are suspended
In the coming weeks, City Planning staff will hold a public hearing on the draft ordinance, then draft a staff report with recommendations for consideration by the City Planning Commission (CPC). Additionally, the Initial Study of the potential environmental impacts will be released before the item goes before the CPC. Following CPC, the ordinance would move to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) before going to the full City Council for consideration.