cityhall3.jpgA time-intensive process that requires stores in San Francisco selling secondhand goods to report all of their sales to the city’s Police Department was mostly eliminated via legislation passed Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

The board unanimously approved the ordinance by Supervisor Scott Wiener, who called it “a pro-small business piece of legislation.”

Wiener said the city’s police code treated stores that sold items such as used furniture, antiques, used books and vintage clothing “as if they were the worst type of pawn shops, or frankly, criminal enterprises.”

The code required owners of such stores to pay hundreds of dollars in permitting fees to the Police Department as well as provide the department with a daily list of the store’s transactions.

Wiener called these requirements “incredibly unreasonable” and said he had received complaints from many small business owners throughout the city.

He said he worked closely with the Police Department to come up with a piece of legislation that they support.

For the majority of secondhand store owners, the requirement to get a permit from the Police Department will be eliminated under the ordinance, Wiener said.

For those that sell items likely to be stolen and resold, such as items with a serial number, electronics, firearms and precious stones, the permitting process will remain but with a reduced fee of $200, and the businesses will only have to report on those items, Wiener said.

State laws concerning the secondhand dealers, such as a requirement that the businesses hold onto acquired property for 30 days before resale, will remain in effect.

The legislation “will make it easier to begin and to run businesses that sell secondhand goods,” a type of store that “make our neighborhood corridors vibrant,” Wiener said.

The ordinance was given initial approval by the 11-0 vote and will return in front of the board next week for final approval.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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