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Restaurant Owners Hope City Hall Can Cut Red Tape

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Freemans Restaurant.

Ask any small business owner. They’ll tell you it’s a maddening experience trying to navigate the city’s bewildering maze of regulations. This is especially true for new restaurants. Yesterday, seven food-service entrepreneurs, including William Tigertt (Freemans and Peels), were invited to City hall to discuss the problem. The Daily News reports:

Among their complaints: Waiting six weeks for a 12-minute appointment to review plans with Buildings Department inspectors, ripping out and reinstalling equipment when two inspectors can’t agree what’s legal and agencies that don’t coordinate their inspections, forcing owners to sit and wait for weeks. The city’s bureaucracy has spawned an industry of expediters who use connections to push applications through – for a price. “We probably spent $60,000 on expediters and consultants – not to mention the same problems of paying $25,000 a month rent for an extra four months on the schedule while we got signoffs,” said William Tigertt.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith wants to “replace the blizzard of separate permits with a single ‘restaurant license’ and a simple checkoff process that would give New Yorkers a clear path to open a new food business.”

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