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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Council lowers fees for new and current businesses


Last updated 10/12/2020 at 4:59am | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Danielle Claybon, a Kern County Public Health advocate, makes a presentation about the new park being planned for North Shafter.

The Shafter City Council approved a new pilot program that would assist new businesses interested in coming to Shafter, while also retaining those businesses already in place.

The new program will reduce building permit fees, as well as other fees to modify existing businesses, by 75 percent.

During the pandemic, a number of businesses in Shafter have struggled to remain open while adhering to the governor's public safety guidelines.

In particular, restaurants in Shafter have not been able to offer inside dining for months, with the only alternatives being take-out orders and outside dining. For those restaurants that have adequate outdoor space, the reduction of outdoor dining fees has allowed them to remain open without the added burden of paying permit fees.

City Manager Gabriel Gonzales said this program would have results that are twofold, with the ability to attract new businesses to Shafter, while retaining those businesses already in place.

"In particular, there is a business possibility regarding a sporting goods store that would be able to build in the downtown area without the substantial cost that the different permits and fees would mean," Gonzales said. "This program will make it possible for Shafter to continue our reputation as being a proactive community that is business-friendly and keep us economically stable."

With the winter months coming, it will be necessary for the many of the city's restaurants to either put up portable tents or structures to protect diners from the elements, or to build a more permanent structure that the business could keep going forward.

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

City Manager Gabriel Gonzales makes a presentation of a pilot program to help new and existing businesses in Shafter.

In continuing the progress that Shafter has made addressing the concerns of those living in Northern Shafter, Danielle Claybon, a Kern County Public Health advocate, made a presentation regarding a new park being planned in the area of Fresno Avenue and Highway 43. With the help of a Proposition 68 grant from the government, the park project would give North Shafter residents a park to enjoy without having to venture to other parts of the city, giving them a safe place to go to with their families.

Claybon said there will be the first in-person meeting for the project on Oct. 14, at which residents are invited to give their input on what their park will look like and what it will offer. She said it is important for the project managers to get valuable feedback from the residents who will be impacted by the project.

There will also be a succession of future virtual meetings with different county agencies, fine tuning the plan and finalizing the proposal that will be sent for approval. There are incentives for residents to participate in the process. Those people who participate in the meeting and fill out the surveys will be entered in drawings for a $100 gift card, as well as a couple of $25 gift cards. The meeting on Oct. 14 will take place from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at Redwood Elementary School.


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