City regulations, fines getting a closer look

October 2, 2012 6:06:17 PM PDT
Running a small business like a restaurant is never easy. City hall makes it even tougher with lots and lots of rules.

A diner in TriBeCa recently was fined because the fork and knife were longer than the napkin. That's a $300 fine.

Another restaurant in Brooklyn has a sign on a sidewalk in front that us a problem, or at least it is on a Sunday. If the sign had been propped up against a wall or on the sidewalk any other day, then no fine. But it was a Sunday and the sign was on the sidewalk and so a $100 fine.

The owner couldn't believe the fine and paid it just to be done with it. He and his co-owner didn't even know any rule was broken.

"What I think of this rule is similar to is what a lot of other business owners think of these rules. It's just a way to getting money. It's just a way of collecting money," Farid Lancheros, Bogota Latin Bistro owner, said.

Two years ago the city collected $741-million in fines. This year it's up to $820-million.

Now city leaders, including the council speaker who's running for mayor, are launching a review of every city regulation designed to cut down on fines and help small businesses.

"But you know what? Anybody who's running for anything in the City of New York should care about small businesses. They should care about the future of them,"

It's doubtful city hall changes could lead to those infamous letter grades going away, but it might cut down on all the regulations and the fines.

"I'm optimistic that now maybe that this has been launched, this initiative, the idea of drafting legislation around this that maybe I can proceed further that I can proceed with my ambitions and goals and open more restaurants. I'm hoping," Lancheros said.


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