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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 04-26-2011, 05:14 PM   #1
Jeremy Loo
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Conditional use permit

I'm looking to open up in Orange County CA, and I am having a heck of a time dealing with some of the various cities (FUllerton, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana) Seems like they either won't allow that type of use in industrial areas or want to charge an outrageous amount for a conditional use permit. Anyone out there in my area got any pointers or is that just the way it is?
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:20 PM   #2
Sam Robin
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Re: Conditional use permit

We've been dealing with this a little further north in Santa Clarita. The process is completely insane. You need to try and get a Minor Use Permit, over a CUP, the process is cheaper and quicker. We were able to convince them to go for a Minor Use Permit. Emphasize small class sizes, and that you hopefully wont be doing construction.

The best way around all of this is to move in to a place that was already a gym, else get ready to start hating your local government.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:38 PM   #3
Jeremy Loo
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Re: Conditional use permit

Thanks Sam. What a pain! I know some people who just went ahead got the space and didn't mention they are doing classes, they just said they were a storage unit for fitness equipment. I would be scared to do it and get shut down but I'm wondering if they would really shut you down or would they just fine you?
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:43 PM   #4
Sam Robin
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Re: Conditional use permit

We decided to go the legit route to avoid such complications later, but its cost thousands of dollars that I never planned for, so I can see where those people are coming from. Because we aren't just a CrossFit gym and plan on doing business with some of the City-affiliated sports teams, it was in our best interests. We just had no idea how ridiculous and expensive the whole process is.

They can technically have you shut down and fined for every day you operated without the proper permitting. Plus if any competition in the area gets wind of you I'm sure the first thing they look into is if you are legit or not, and try to turn you in.

If you plan on being small and operating really under the radar, it might be a good idea to skip this until you have the capital to deal with it. Try talking to some of the local CF gyms, I know there is quite a few in the OC.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:47 PM   #5
Jeremy Loo
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Re: Conditional use permit

Thanks again Sam. Some cities don't seem to have any problems at all and in each of those cities there are numerous Crossfits. I guess the reason why is because of the stupid permits. Oh well, I will keep on trying and searching and eventually something will turn up. I appreciate your advice Sam.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:11 AM   #6
Matt DeMinico
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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.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
Eric R. Schmidt
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Re: Conditional use permit

For what its worth...I made an appointment with the local economic development team so they're going to help walk me thru the red tape, and I've got no real capital to speak of...I think the "stay under the radar" advice is good, if you can do it in OC...everybody wants a piece of the action it seems...try and focus on being the best coach you can and things will fall into place...Good luck to you and good training!
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:57 AM   #8
Matt DeMinico
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Re: Conditional use permit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric R. Schmidt View Post
For what its worth...I made an appointment with the local economic development team so they're going to help walk me thru the red tape, and I've got no real capital to speak of...I think the "stay under the radar" advice is good, if you can do it in OC...everybody wants a piece of the action it seems...try and focus on being the best coach you can and things will fall into place...Good luck to you and good training!
I've worked with economic development folks, and they're very good at getting you through the red tape legally. But remember, "legally" involves no special exemptions, so if technically the law says something absurd like "You must wear red underwear while training clients at your gym", no matter how absurd, they'll make sure you fill out the form certifying that you will, in fact, wear red underwear.
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:58 PM   #9
Jeremy Loo
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Re: Conditional use permit

Thanks everyone for the advice and suggestions. THis week I have contacted 3 property managers and they won't even consider allowing this type of use for their units. So I even looked at some retail spaces and some of them also need a conditional use permit so it looks like their might not be a way around it.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:03 PM   #10
Gary Ostroski
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Re: Conditional use permit

Just wanted to resurrect this one. Starting this process now and the landlord is concerned about use permits and what they will require him to do to the building. Any one have experience with this in taking over a warehouse setting and splitting it down the middle?
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