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San Francisco to Temporarily Halt Violations After Small Businesses' Concerns

Dozens of small businesses in San Francisco’s Chinatown have learned that the city will temporarily halt violations. This comes as the shops were hit with permit violation notices for things like awnings.

On Thursday, BeChinatown owner Lily Lo showed NBC Bay Area her stack of notice of violations.

“I counted today. I’m close to 30,” she said.

Lo is also an advocate for the small businesses of Chinatown, where violations for not having a permit for awnings were being slapped on businesses.

Following NBC Bay Area’s original report, San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s office said Friday they will temporarily not give more notice of violations or NOVs and late fees to comply for those businesses that already got an NOV won’t be exercised.

“At least the city is doing something so for the last few weeks, nobody did tell me what to do,” Lo said.

It began at the end of January, when the NOVs suddenly began appearing in the historic Chinatown neighborhood, where awnings have existed for generations.

The Department of Building Inspection said it wasn’t targeting that specific area.

A spokesperson said it’s just legally bound to respond to complaints. He told NBC Bay Area in three months, four neighborhoods were hit with complaints and the number of them, unusual.

The DBI added that this same time the previous year there were five complaints. This time, they said they got 179 and they are calling this “extraordinarily high.”

The permitting process could cost these businesses operated by people like Albert Chang. He helps out at Grant Place Restaurant.

Instead of their awning, he and a few others got a violation during this same time for their gate.

So, he inquired about the first step in compliance is draw up plans.

“He said you’re looking at an issue of about $8,000 to $10,000 and the second phase, you might be able to make modifications on the gate you look at about $25,000 to $30,000,” said Chang.

Chang and others said this would be challenging.

The DBI, Office of Small Business and Peskin’s office are all working to figure out how to assist as the band aid of a solution will need to be ripped off at some point.

“Of course, I hope the city waived the fee and help us get them give them a chance you know,” Lo said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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