Economic Development and Small Business Support

  • Affordable Commercial Spaces in New City-Owned Commercial and Mixed-Use Developments: Directed staff to develop a new policy that requires the inclusion of affordable commercial space in any newly constructed City-owned commercial or mixed-use developments, which will be specifically set aside to lease to non-profit organizations. 
  • Small Business Initiative to Create Affordable Commercial Spaces in New Mixed-Use Projects: Directed staff to develop a new policy that requires a mandatory, affordable commercial space component in any new commercial or mixed-use development that requests a development agreement, specific plan, or other commercial bonus (mixed-use, public benefits, overlay bonuses, Avenues Bonus, etc.) that would result in additional gross floor area beyond base zoning code allowances.
  • Eastside Decorative Lanterns: Directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design and installation of decorative lanterns across Santa Monica Boulevard on the eastside of West Hollywood, and return to council with design options and proposed boundaries. 
  • Compliance in the Business Tax Certificate Program: Directed staff to develop an initiative to encourage compliance in the City’s business tax certificate program, specifically targeting small businesses, independent contractors, freelancers, and home-based businesses who have not yet applied for a City Business Tax Certificate or exemption and may be unaware of the City’s requirements. 
  • Small Business Initiative Follow-up: Directed the Long-Range Planning Division, the Urban Design and Architecture Studio, and Economic Development staff to work with the Chamber on policies, programs, and partnerships that can be implemented more rapidly to specifically help attract small business to the City of West Hollywood.
  • Creation of a Drag Laureate Program: Directed staff to develop a Drag Laureate program to serve as an ambassador to West Hollywood businesses, especially the businesses in the City’s historic LGBT district, and promote arts and culture in West Hollywood. 
  • Business Assistance and Recovery Measures: Directed staff to develop a COVID-19 relief program to administer up to $250,000 in small grants or emergency funds to brick-and-mortar small businesses with 50 full-time employees or less who have been forced to close or limit business operations as a result of Los Angeles County or State of California health orders and who have not received relief funds through other county, state, or federal sources. Also directs staff to sponsor a roundtable discussion with members of the business community to discuss the economic impacts from COVID-19 on brick-and-mortar small businesses and provide immediate policy recommendations to assist those businesses, and, authorizes the creation of a Business Recovery Task Force whose purpose is to develop an Economic Blueprint for West Hollywood, including bringing various stakeholders to the table to provide recommendations to the City Council on issues related to small business success, business recovery given the impacts from COVID-19, business diversification, and policy recommendations to support the business community. 
  • Economic Development Study: Directed staff to perform an economic development study that includes an assessment of the current economic conditions in the City, as well as any gaps that may exist, and recommendations for improvement.
  • Pop-Up Businesses: Directed staff to evaluate ways to encourage pop-up businesses in vacant storefront spaces in order to encourage economic development, improve public safety, and enhance the City’s brand as a creative innovation center. 
  • Streamline Review of Smaller Commercial Projects: Directed staff to amend the Zoning Ordinance to allow applications for new or additional floor area in commercial development projects of less than 30,000 square feet and requiring 150 parking spaces or less, to be reviewed by the Community Development Director. This would apply only to projects that do not require a conditional use permit or variance, and do not request any bonuses, incentives, parking reductions or “minor modifications” above the baseline zoning requirements. The intention is to streamline the approval process for smaller, less impactful commercial projects that fully adhere to the Zoning Code, and to provide greater certainty and quickness with regard to these requests for development approvals. 
  • Emergency Actions to Support Businesses: Provided additional authority to the City Manager to expedite creative ways to support businesses during the current state of emergency in response to COVID-19, including, but not limited to: convert meters to loading zones, develop a centralized job board, negotiate with food delivery services for lower citywide rates, negotiate lower citywide internet rates, work with WeHo Chamber to develop a "shop local #wehostrong" campaign and negotiate reduced banner and sign advertising rates. 
  • Recovery Assistance Targeted for Legacy Businesses: Directed staff to develop strategies to help legacy businesses and legacy districts in WeHo recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis. 
  • Preservation Of WeHo Legacy Businesses And Non-Profits: Directed staff to research policies in other jurisdictions aimed at preserving local legacy businesses and nonprofit agencies, including the program adopted by the City and County of San Francisco, and to develop a similar program for the City of West Hollywood. 
  • Small Business Initiative Supporting Our Small Businesses: This is an initiative directing staff to research policies and planning tools that will help attract independent, small businesses to West Hollywood and keep our existing small business community intact by making operating small business in our City more economically feasible. The first step was to form a Small Business Task Force. 
  • Support of Legacy Businesses: In response to the loss of some of our well-known “legacy” businesses and non-profit agencies, we directed the Arts and Economic Development Division to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of existing policies and programs serving small businesses to identify opportunities to proactively support our small businesses in West Hollywood.