City Council approves plan to simplify opening a business

City Council Chambers (Cristina Peralta/DD)

The implementation of a new five-day development site plan for new businesses in Phoenix was approved Wednesday by council members. Reviews for the plan were discussed in the meeting.

The new site plan is citywide and will allow the city manager to establish five new positions in order to implement the site plan review, as stated in the council agenda this week.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio of City Council District 6 in Phoenix explained that the site plan is intended to deregulate and make it easier for residents to open up new businesses.  While many businesses take about 60 days to acquire a site plan approval, the site plan will allow for businesses to open within five days.

“No longer do you have these burdens and requirements that can take up to three or four months of your time to be able to open,” DiCiccio said.  “Now, that’s done by right.  You are literally allowed to open a business and not have to worry about special permits.”

With the help of the Planning & Development Department, the city of Phoenix will be moving to a one-day, a five-day and a 21-day approval on different site plans for businesses.

While stage one of the process deals with regulatory statutes, stage two deals with the site plan approval.  Business owners will be allowed to produce 10 percent of a project and have their plans approved in five days.  A permanent staff for routing and plan overview will be created for the project, as well as a temporary staff to coordinate electronic information, according to the council agenda.

“We’ve moved in a direction where it makes it manageable for people to open up their businesses in one day,” DiCiccio said. “You’ll see a lot more stability in our economy, more stability in our budget and you’ll see a lot more faster, quicker job creation.”

Mayor Stanton was also in agreement on the success of the site plan ordinance and discussed the significance of the plan.

“We want to make sure that a competitive advantage we have is that if you want to start a business, at least the permitting process you have to go through with the government is as quick and as business friendly as possible,” Stanton said.

Stanton’s goal is to ultimately eliminate the unnecessary delay of a long permit process, as well as to strike a proper balance between necessary safety inspections and a speedy jumpstart.

Full year costs of the site plan review are estimated at $445,200, according to the council agenda.

Two Phoenix residents, who argued that the inspectors of the program were unqualified and unequipped for the new site plan, voiced opposition to the project.

During the meeting, new board members were also sworn into the council.

Several Phoenix residents were in attendance to the council meeting, including Dianne Barker, a frequent visitor to council meetings each month.

Barker spoke during public comments, voicing her agreement with Item 36, an ordinance requesting to grant funds for the new DUI Interface Project.

The project will create new data and documents to distribute DUI evidence to the prosecutor’s office, as well as allow an electronic transfer of data from the police department to the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division, according to the council agenda.

A secure web portal will also be created for officers to easily access reports.

“What I was trying to get them to do was to give a little more information,” Barker said,  “I’m interested in having valid search warrants when a person gets stopped.”

After Barker was convicted of a DUI earlier last year, she claims she was denied the right to an attorney and was searched without a valid search warrant.  Since then, she has been trying to get her conviction overturned.

In her comments, Barker wanted the council to be very knowledgeable of the program and hopes for success.

On the contrary, Ahwatukee resident Luis Acosta voiced his discontent over the delayed contact on behalf of council members he felt he had received.  After proposing a new plan to the council on cleaning up litter on the highways, Acosta claimed the council never contacted him back.

“What that tells me is that people in power aren’t interested in input from us folks, whether we work for the city of Phoenix at the time or folks who have been retired from the city of Phoenix at the time,” Acosta said.

However, Acosta did explain that he wants other residents to get involved with the graffiti busters program in Phoenix, which has been highly successful.  With the proper knowledge and skills, the community can help to fight graffiti, Acosta said.

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