Local News

Downtown Advocate: Opening Businesses in Raleigh Should Be Easier

Posted February 13, 2007 9:57 p.m. EST

— The outgoing president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance says the city needs to make the process easier for some businesses to open downtown.

Nancy Hormann says the permitting process often takes longer than it should, and that could prevent other businesses from considering downtown.

"When businesses have bad experiences that word of mouth really hurts," says Hormann

More than $2 billion in investments, including a new convention center, is expected in the downtown area by 2010, but Hormann says to keep the momentum going, small businesses should not have to go through so much red tape.

Crema on Fayetteville, for example, is open for business on Fayetteville Street, but owner Tim Jannik says it didn't come easy.

"It was pretty frustrating," said Tim Jannik, who owns Crema on Fayetteville on Fayetteville Street.

Jannik said opening was not easy, in part, because of the city procedures. One example of the difficulties he encountered was that he needed three permits to put up one awning outside his store.

"They'll hold up certain permits, because you don't have other ones done, but it's not all in the same office, so it's hard to get people to talk to each other," Jannik said.

City Manager Russell Allen says he does not think there is a widespread problem but recognizes there is room for improvement.

He says the permitting process will improve when a new private use of public space policy takes effect in the coming weeks.

"That gives us a chance to have a one-stop shop for small things, small permits, encroachments -- those types of thing -- that business owners need but don't know how to address," Allen said.