Every city has a different approach to economic development. Should a city choose a relaxed approach, it would wait to see which businesses choose to come into the city. On the other hand, a city can have a more aggressive approach and recruit potential businesses to come to the city. Either way, the importance of establishing a strong business core is essential to the financial stability of a city.
The City of La Verne established an Economic Development Subcommittee, comprised of Council members and staff, for the purpose of developing the best ways to promote La Verne as a destination for new businesses. This subcommittee has an important job because sales tax is a key revenue stream that enables the City to provide essential services. Ensuring the right mix of retailers can better maximize that revenue stream.
While La Verne enjoys a relatively low vacancy rate, this subcommittee is continually looking at the best methods to market the City. Multiple measures have been implemented to help promote the community and attract retailers that are believed to be the “right fit.” These tools include creation of a marketing brochure highlighting the major advantages of locating of business in La Verne, working with shopping center managers to make direct contact with sought-after retailers, development of an interactive mapping tool on the City website to easily identify all available retail locations, and, in select cases, being prepared to offer economic incentives to entice the most preferred businesses.
When a business decides to locate in La Verne, the first step is to see if the proposed use is permitted by the zoning for the property. La Verne has several different zones throughout the City, and each of those zones has a list of permitted uses, conditional uses, and prohibited uses. The City's zoning code cannot regulate the quality of the type of business (i.e. a "discount" store vs. a "upscale" store), but can only list type of use such as "retail sales."
If a use is permitted, the business only needs to obtain a certificate of use and occupancy and a business license, both of which are ministerial and required for every business. If a use is conditional, it requires a Conditional Use Permit, which is reviewed in a public hearing before the Planning Commission. This discretionary process allows the Planning Commission to approve the use with specific conditions to address any concerns that are raised about the business, or deny the business from locating at that location based on concerns about the public health, safety, and welfare. Property owners within 300' of the site are required to be noticed of the request for a conditional use permit and the public hearing for the proposed use, and a notice is also required to be published in the local newspaper. If a use is prohibited, the use is not allowed at that location.
From start to finish, economic development and attracting businesses to meet the desires and needs of the community is quite a process. If you know of a business that is a good match to La Verne, please direct them to the Community Development Department at (909) 596-8706.
News Release Provided By: Jeannette Vagnozzi, City of La Verne