Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.

Small restaurants in Fountain Valley have temporary relief from permit fees as part of a business-friendly city initiative, allowing them to save money.

In a unanimous vote, the Fountain Valley City Council has approved a resolution temporarily reducing fees for the permits required to operate restaurants with 50 or fewer seats.

Previously, fees for a new permit were $3,465 and fees for a modification to an existing permit were $3,025. Both fees have been reduced to $1,005 for a four-month period since the council approval Oct. 5.

This fee reduction is the first step in a larger plan to consider a code amendment that would eliminate the permit requirement for small restaurants altogether. Both the Planning Commission and City Council believe this is a positive and business-friendly action. The staff is drafting an ordinance for future consideration.

Councilmember Kim Constantine said she voted in favor of fee reduction because, “Having served on the Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce Board a few years ago, I know how important it is for business owners embarking on their new endeavors here in Fountain Valley … saving their time, money and efforts. This is a great thing for them.”

Some restaurateurs said they appreciate the reduction in fees.

“As a small business, we don’t have the resources that big chain corporations do,” said Harry Kechejian, owner of Kech Cafe, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. “Any reduction in fees in running a business is always appreciated.”

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