Small Business Commission: Gearing Up for Legacy Business Applications

At its July 25th meeting, the Small Business Commission continued an ongoing discussion of how to execute the Legacy Business Program, which will provide cash allotments to longtime businesses and their landlords contingent upon the number of employees and square footage of qualifying businesses.

There is a registry of legacy businesses to which businesses can be nominated. Businesses on the registry will get some promotional support and will be allowed to apply for Legacy Business funding.

Currently there are 10 applications being considered by the Historic Preservation Commission. After that, the applications will be heard at the next meeting of the Small Business Commission.

Richard Kurylo, new director of the Legacy Business program, provided some updates as to the changes and progress he has already made.

Kurylo said that he informed the Mayor and Board of Supervisors not to nominate any businesses to the registry unless the businesses know that they are being nominated and want to be nominated.

Kurylo also gave an overview of the information about the program and application process available on the Office of Small Business website.

Commissioner Stephen Adams praised Kurylo, who started earlier in July, for his work on the program.

“In two weeks you’ve put this [program] back on track,” Adams said.

The Commission discussed internal talks between city agencies regarding the eligibility of nonprofits to apply for Legacy Business funding, as some nonprofits have been nominated to the registry and have made applications for funding.

Commissioner Mark Dwight said that the Legacy Business program was set up to benefit private businesses, not nonprofits.

Medical offices on Sacramento Street

Kanishka Karunaratne, legislative aide to District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, presented legislation that would stop medical offices from opening in ground floor retail spaces on Sacramento Street.

Karunaratne explained that the Sacramento street corridor has a mix of retail and medical office storefront, and that while new medical offices are prohibited from opening, they are allowed to open through a change of use process from retail to medical use.

According to Karunaratne, there is neighborhood concern that the establishment of more medical offices would deaden the street, so Farrell’s legislation is intended to keep Sacramento Street available to retail and restaurant merchants.

The Commission passed a motion in support of the legislation.

Median Parking in the Mission

Currently, cars park along the median areas of Valencia and Guerrero streets in the Mission district in what commissioner William Ortiz-Cartegena described as an “informal process” that needs formalizing.

Ortiz-Cartegena presented the item, and so was recused from taking action on it. Ortiz-Cartegena maintained as he has in previous meetings that the Mission is a “regional destination,” the small businesses of which thrive on auto traffic from those who live inside and outside the city, and therefore needs to preserve its parking supply.

SFMTA Transportation Planner John Knox-White explained that the SFMTA had been exploring removing those parking spaces due to safety concerns, but were listening to community feedback to develop an approach to formalizing the situation.

Commissioner Paul Tour-Sarkissian asked SFMTA Transportation Planner John Knox-White whether allowing for these parking spaces would be beneficial to businesses.

“That is definitely the feedback we’ve received,” said Knox-White, referring to a “consensus” from the Mission business community.

The commission passed a motion in support of formalizing the parking spaces.

Meeting Overview:

·      The Commission will soon hear businesses applying for Legacy Business Funding

·      The Commission moved to support legislation blocking medical offices from opening via the conditional use process on Sacramento Street

·      The Commission moved to support Mission District neighbors asking SFMTA to preserve median parking spaces along Valencia and Guerrero streets

·      The Commission is opposed to a proposed payroll tax on technology companies because payroll taxes were replaced by gross receipts taxes in 2012

·      Commission Secretary Menaka Mahajan continues to work through backlog of meeting minutes

·      Ace Washington, Fillmore activist, repeatedly invited commissioners to visit Fillmore Street to assess small business health

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