The San Diego Restaurant Association wants San Diego City Council to cut local restaurant owners a break.
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On Wednesday, the SDRA approached the council to ask it to get rid of the high costs and regulatory red tape associated with building sidewalk cafes.
Elena Rivellino owns North Park's Sea Rocket, a farm-to-table restaurant that serves organic and made-from-scratch dishes. After four years in business in a shaky economy, the restaurant is finally starting to see a profit.
"We currently had a good quarter and thought we could do something we've always wanted to do," she said.
She had an architect draw up the plans to expand the restaurant's outdoor patio.
"He said, 'OK, well these will cost you about this much but the permitting is going to cost you $8,000 to $11,000," said Rivellino. "And we thought, 'OK, stop right there.' You know, we can't afford that."
The construction costs are estimated to be around $5,000, which is about half the price of the city permit.
San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria told 10News the regulations do not pass the common sense test.
"The permits should not cost more than the work that is being performed," he said. "What we want to do is help create jobs, to encourage these restaurants to be located in our city and to hopefully generate some tax revenue."
The council will study the SDRA's request and look at it again next month.
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