DDA and Miami-Dade Bar launch Small Business Permitting Clinic

The Miami Downtown Development Authority (Miami DDA) and the Miami-Dade Bar, in conjunction with local law school students and volunteer lawyers, announce the launch of the Small Business Permit Clinic to assist business owners in the Downtown core with City of Miami permitting matters.

Developed to address the main challenges reported by new business owners filing for permits, the free program administered by the Miami Dade Bar Association on behalf of the Miami DDA, is available to any business registered with the State of Florida on Sunbiz and operating in the Brickell area, Central Business District or Arts and Entertainment District.

“We are excited about this collaboration that provides local business owners with knowledgeable legal counsel to help them better navigate the regulatory environment. The permitting process can be complex, and we want to give local entrepreneurs the assistance they need so they can better focus on creating jobs and delivering on economic growth,” said Roger Slade, president of the Miami Dade Bar.

“The Permit Clinic team will work to educate business owners wishing to open, expand, change their business use or legalize unpermitted business,” Slade further explained.

Once registered with the program, business owners can receive up to 10 hours of assistance with a variety of issues, including: 
• Navigating the City of Miami’s ePlan permitting infrastructure;
• Applying for new business permits and special permits;
• Obtaining a certificate of use, business tax receipt and fire safety permits;
• Understanding if the business use being sought is permitted;
• Determining if a demolition permit is necessary to open or expand a business;
• Applying for a zoning verification letter, and
• Guiding business owners on how to appropriately respond to feedback, open the permitting processes and schedule inspections.

“The Miami-Dade Bar is committed to giving back to the community. By working with the Miami DDA, leveraging our talented membership and providing mentoring and hands-on experience to law students, we can significantly help small business owners, who are the backbone of our community,” said Suzette Russomanno, president-elect of the Miami-Dade Bar.

The Miami-Dade Bar will staff the Permit Clinic, and law school students from the University of Miami, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern School of Law and St. Thomas University will carry out the program. After receiving extensive training from the bar association, students will be paired with experienced attorneys from some of Miami’s most prestigious law firms.

From there, students will be matched with business owners looking to avoid or resolve permitting issues. Students will receive credit for their work through this practicum. If the matter cannot be resolved during the 10-hour timeframe, the program will refer the business owner to an attorney or expediter who can continue assisting them.

The Permit Clinic also will refer business owners to appropriate resources for issues related to special permits, permit revocation appeals, labor law, life-safety inspections, OSHA regulations, and sales tax compliance, among other issues that materially affect small businesses.

“Everyone benefits from this very creative solution to what can be a challenging regulatory landscape,” Slade said. “This will be a tremendous help to any business owner who has found themselves at a standstill trying to resolve a permitting issue.”

Attorneys, law school students and businesses interested in participating in the program can register at https://miamidadebar.org/permit-clinic/ or call 305-371-2220.




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