Re: Conditional use permit
Ugh, don't get me started. I'm in Michigan and it's bad enough, I couldn't imagine trying to open a business (*gasp* profit?!?) in California.
My suggestion to people is to start small (read: garage), fly under the radar, be nice to your neighbors, then rent a cheap industrial space. If you've got balls, don't tell the #(%*ing city you're in there (why does anything you're doing have any bearing on them?), get a legitimate fire inspection before you go in (if it's all one big building with multiple units, have the owner have the whole thing inspected if he'll do it). This is really the only legitimate inspection I can see (I can see firemen not wanting to die because a building is screwed up, so let's roll with that one...) But as far as all the other stuff, as long as the owner of the building knows what you're doing, why does the city care?
If you operate for a year like that, and they come knocking on your door saying "you didn't get your permits, we don't allow this, blah blah blah..." If they give you enough crap, take your case to the news. Explain how you've been there for a year, with ZERO complaints, providing a service to your clients, and "it's my livelihood, it's how I pay my bills". Explain to them how the city is going to destroy a small business because of some stupid regulation. If enough people aren't happy with City Council, you'll probably get a waiver, and they might say "ok just fill out this permit and pay the fee" which is all they really want anyhow, to feel like they're in charge of everything.