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San Francisco Supes Approve Fees On Owners Of Vacant Storefronts

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday requiring owners of commercial spaces to register their vacant storefronts in an effort to restore life to neighborhood corridors.

In addition to registering vacant storefronts with the city's Department of Building Inspection, owners would have to pay a $711 annual registration fee.

"When you have commercial property owners holding multiple storefronts vacant for long periods of time, that hurts all the other small businesses in the area who rely on a vibrant commercial corridor to attract customers," Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who authored the legislation, said in a statement.

"The enforcement mechanisms in this ordinance are vital to addressing our vacancy problem head on and complement ongoing efforts to fill vacant storefronts so our small businesses can thrive," she said.

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According to the legislation, in addition to registering vacant storefronts, regardless if they are for lease or sale, the spaces would also be subjected to annual inspections to ensure that they don't pose a hazard.

Property owners who fail to register their spaces and pay the fee could be penalized with a fee four times the registration fee, or $2,844, according to Fewer's office.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Supervisor Gordon Mar called for a hearing on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's progress meeting its quarterly performance goals. The call for a hearing follows a recent problem on Thursday in which tens of thousands of riders were impacted by a slowdown during the rush hour commute.

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"It's in the interest of the public to hear from SFMTA on their progress in meeting these goals," Mar said in a statement. "I've heard from constituents every single day about train and bus delays, long wait times, and reliability issues, and they deserve answers."

Muni began implementing 90-day benchmarks for improving performance after service hours were affected last summer by a shortage of drivers combined with system errors and switch problems.

"I'd like to see SFMTA report to us on their progress every 90 days going forward," Mar said. "Public transit deserves public oversight—and accountability."


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