Customers with appointments can enter the Development Services Center at the City Operations Building using the third-floor bridge connected to the Evan V. Jones Parkade Terrace Level.

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Small Business and Restaurant Assistance Program

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The Development Services Department's Small Business and Restaurant Assistance Program provides dedicated resources and information to help qualified small businesses and restaurants citywide recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic and support economic recovery.

The services are designed to help qualified small businesses and restaurants with their planning and permitting needs, making it faster and easier to get the permitting, construction and inspection help they need for a speedy recovery.

Qualifying Small Businesses

All new construction projects for small businesses (25 or fewer employees) that are located in the City of San Diego, have a valid business tax certificate and operate in the following industries:

  • Restaurants, tasting rooms and bars
  • Catering facilities
  • Retail shops
  • Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and spas
  • Fitness centers and instructional studios
  • Breweries, distilleries and wineries
  • Entertainment and music venues
  • Home offices and businesses

Program Exclusions

National franchises, office buildings, residential rental buildings (apartments), churches and other religious institutions are not eligible.

How to Get Started?

1

Go to the Open Counter Business Portal to learn which permits you'll need for new small business construction projects and predict fees.

Open Counter logo

2

Book an appointment to meet virtually with a representative to address your questions and review your project ideas before applying for a permit or submitting for a new permit.

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Additional Resources

  • Ask a CASp: If you have a question concerning the application of the State of California accessibility standards to a specific built environment, space, a building or just simply want to know how the City will interpret an accessibility provision of the California Building Code, ask a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) City official for an answer.
  • Business Resource Matcher: Here you can conduct a search for different resources, such as rebates, loans, tax credits and other online tools that are available for your business.
  • California Business Incentives Gateway: Search all state and local business development incentives in this single access point. Provided by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), this resource allows you to search for targeted tax breaks, training grants, fee waivers, permit assistance, low-cost or tax-exempt financing, reduced utility rates and other online resources.
  • Small Business Relief Fund: Learn about the City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund and other steps the City of San Diego is taking in consultation with—and at the direction of—County of San Diego public health officials to help businesses affected by COVID-19.
  • San Diego's Startup Ecosystem: Explore local startup incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces and where to find them in the City of San Diego.
  • Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permits: Dining and retail outlets with space constraints can now expand operations outdoors to cost-effectively implement safety, health and distancing protocols.