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Tucson working to help businesses grow

Countering old complaints about city red tape
Posted at 7:25 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-05 21:25:15-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Is Tucson city government hostile to business?
For years the city has been facing complaints that its inspections and development rules make so tough to do business that they drive business away.
But now the city's making a new push to change that impression and to try help businesses grow.
Old city development rules would have killed Five Points Market before it served it's first meal.  They would have required a big parking lot and older buildings just don't have the space.  But the city waived the parking rule.
Owner Brian Haskins says, “As  result of us being able to be here, 24 jobs, plus myself.”  
KGUN9 reporter Craig smith asked: “And this place was largely idle before that?”  
Haskins: “There was a bicycle shop that's moved down the street that had one or two employees."
Five Points Market got its waiver three years ago.   Now as just part of a new business building program, the city is planning other zones where it will lift some development rules like parking requirements that keep businesses from reviving older buildings.
The city's pushing to bring new life to close in areas, like a construction project on Pima Street, going up on the grounds of an old school.  
JR Durazo or Durazo Construction says the city's already reducing the old complaint that approving construction is slow and aggravating.  He's excited about city plans to use the same construction management and video conference systems Pima County has used to speed up projects.
Imagine how much faster your construction will go if instead of your people waiting around for an inspector to check a simple item, they can simply get the item ready to show and show it to that inspector on a video conference by smartphone.
JR Durazo says smoother city systems already help him prep buildings faster.  That helps businesses tap into the downtown boom.
"We're seeing a lot of small businesses starting to invest money.  People that may be dreaming about starting their own business are starting are actually taking steps to do that."
Mayor Rothschild says plans just announced should reinforce progress happening for years but the old reputation will take time to stamp out.
"As people see things getting better, as people are seeing more businesses come to town, without maybe know how that happened then that meme changes to one of, you know Tucson is apparently a good place to do business because all these other businesses are wanting to be here.”