The city of Anaheim already benefits greatly revenue and business-wise from the presence of Disneyland, but back in January, Mayor Tom Tait posited that the city still had work to do in order to become one of the easiest places to do business in Orange County and California. Consequently, the mayor announced the creation of the Anaheim Regulatory Relief Task Force, which was charged with examining regulatory burdens and making recommendations to foster economic development. This week the task force presented the council with its first set of recommendations to make Anaheim even more business-friendly and to address the city’s high unemployment rate. Mayor Tait commented, “This is about people having dreams. So many of those dreams go through City Hall – and sometimes people look at City Hall as a dream killer because of all the red tape."
Sixteen recommendations were put on the table by the task force, which is comprised of city officials, public safety leaders, and business leaders. The city council ended up unanimously approving the framework put forth by the task force and some of the recommendations are as follows:
- Make expanding economic freedom a central mission of the city
- Institutionalize the new mission (track outcomes, celebrate and reward success, demand continuous improvement)
- Expand the city's Project Concierge Program
- Give permitting staff more discretion
- Use minimum code requirements as the maximum requirement
- Reduce the types of businesses that need Conditional Use Permits to Open
- Reduce Permit Requirements
- Reduce Median Conditional Use Permit Processing Time to 60 Days
- Increase Efficiency of Inspections (better access to inspectors, faster response times, more inspection notice and certainty)
- Reevaluate/eliminate Park and Library Impact Fees
You can read all of the task force’s recommendations here.
Dr. Thomas Turk, associate professor of management at Chapman University, is the chairman of the task force and he wrote an op-ed for the OC Register explaining its goals. Turk writes the following about the next phase of the project: “The next phase will offer proposals for reducing and restructuring fees and licenses. If Anaheim is to be the freest city in California, its business taxes and fees must be among the lowest. Fees that charge for city overhead, punish success, or burden home businesses will face the chopping block. In this spirit, we have already proposed a reduction in impact fees and fire inspection and permitting fees.” Read the full op-ed here.