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Mind my business! Entrepreneurs tell Stringer how to fix burdensome biz regs

The Brooklyn Paper
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They just want to get down to business.

Brooklyn business owners sounded off on how the city could make their work easier during a “Red Tape Commission” hearing at Brooklyn Law School on Oct. 16. Comptroller Scott Stringer and a panel of trade group honchos asked local shop-keepers to tell them what city regulations impede business growth. Entrepreneurs from new and traditional industries talked about burdensome restaurant inspections, the construction permitting process, and a host of other regulatory muck that mire emerging businesses. But some issues had less to do with city regulation and more to do with privation, one business advocate said.

“We have a long avenue and a lot of businesses, but we also have an issue with municipal workers parking on our avenue,” said Ria Ferreria of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District. “Sometimes they’re there for a really long time, and that hampers parking for people who want to shop on the avenue. It’s a gross misuses of their placards.”

Stringer and crew took an interest in the issue, and Ferreria is optimistic about an improvement, she said.

Other locals registered gripes over less-tangible issues — for instance, a lack of co-working space in Brooklyn’s traditional business districts.

“They’re not in places that are easily accessible,” said Tony Chambers of East Flatbush. “There’s nothing by Barclays — there’s nothing by Downtown Brooklyn.”

Co-working spaces differ from shared-work spaces scattered over the borough, often in formerly industrial areas, she said.

“Co-working is collaborative working — we come together and build an actual community of people working together. Shared office space is just ‘You work here. This is my space this is yours.’”

But that nuance seems to be lost on city officials, who lump co-working outfits full of online entrepreneurs in with high-tech employers, Chambers said.

“The comptroller was just like ‘Yeah, we’re working on tech space,’ and I’m like ‘It’s not all the same thing,” Chambers said. “They make the mistake that ‘online’ also means tech, but its not just coding and manufactur­ing.”

The commission will hold hearings in each borough before producing a report with recommendations to the city for easing regulatory strain, according to a comptroller spokeswoman.

For more information on upcoming hearings, visit www.comptroller.nyc.gov/redtape.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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