Madera waiving some permit fees to revitalize Downtown

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Between permit and remodel costs, opening a business in Downtown Madera can be expensive, but city councilmembers are hoping to change that by waiving some those fees. (KFSN)

Storefront after storefront sits silently along Downtown Madera.

Between permit and remodel costs, opening a business in the area can be expensive, but city council members are hoping to change that by waiving some those fees.

Madera City Councilmember Charles Rigby said the change is "about putting more tools in a toolbox that will allow us to continue to rebuild and renovate a downtown area that has a lot of potential."

If approved by the city council, new incentive programs would help in reducing fees for permits and processing for businesses looking to open in buildings in Downtown Madera, or in any property within the city that's been vacant for an extended period.

Bobby Kahn of the Madera County Economic Development Commission said, "If you can incentivize a business by waiving fees and speeding up the process and making it easier to transition into these areas, they'll take a look into locating to a downtown area."

It's beneficial for business owners like Jorge Buenrostro who is looking to expand. For 29 years, he's served both new and familiar faces at his restaurant, Tijuana's Bar and Grill.

He's looking to open up a coffee and sandwich shop a few blocks down the street, but says he's faced some challenges.

"There are older buildings down here, so you need to upgrade a lot of things, so it costs a lot of money, it's more challenging."

With the new program, councilmembers say city staff and prospective business owners would work together to figure out costs.

"They get to sit down with our city staff who do this daily, and without putting a dime, they're going to go through plans, make suggestions," said Rigby.

Buenrostro hopes that by waiving some fees, more people will come and fill up the empty storefronts.

"Hopefully get more people coming down here so we can make it nice, like Visalia."
Related Topics:
businessmaderareal estate developmentmadera downtown fees remodel permit revitalizeMadera
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