Supporting the Mill Valley Business Community

Mayor Wickham presents to the business community and the Chamber of Commerce in the photo above. 

We have three updates on how the City Council, City departments (especially the Building and Planning Department) and Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce are supporting the Mill Valley business community.

City Council and Planning and Building Department Recent Activities

This summer, the City Council held its annual retreat, and dedicated the morning session to hearing thoughts and input from Chamber of Commerce, Downtown business owners, the Planning Commission Chair and Planning and Building Director regarding potential Development Review Process improvements. They also discussed the interest in considering land use policy and regulation review to enhance efficiency and bolster the business environment.

“The morning session with members of the business community helps us identify issues of importance before the City, identify priorities and resources, and seek alignment on next steps,” Mayor Jim Wickham said.

As a follow up to issues raised at the retreat, City Planning and Building Department, Marin County Environmental Health Services (EHS), local business representatives, and the Chamber of Commerce met in September to discuss recommendations to improve permit process and enhance efficiency for food facilities and commercial uses. Recommendations included providing for concurrent review by City and EHS for food establishments or permit applications, improving communications around the permit process, staff contacts and scheduling appointments, and considering changes to pre-application meetings and offering expedited review.

The meeting produced good conversation and an agreement from all parties to continue to hold similar periodic meetings between City and business representatives to further progress on these items.

Business Essentials Workshops

The Chamber of Commerce and Marin Small Business Development Center have unveiled their 2019 Business Essentials Workshop series. The series focuses on bringing in experts in their respective fields to support local business leaders in a number of areas: how to find and retain great employees in a tough hiring market, maximizing advertising dollars, compliance with mandatory sexual harassment training and effective use of Instagram for business.

With the support of the City of Mill Valley and Pacific Gas & Electric, each workshop is on a Thursday afternoon in the Mill Valley Community Center's Mountain View Room, with easy access and ample parking. Register and learn more here.

City, Chamber Strike 5-Year Professional Services Agreement

The City of Mill Valley and the Mill Valley Chamber have finalized a new, five-year professional services agreement (“PSA”) that continues their ongoing collaboration around business and community vitality services, resident and visitor engagement, beautification initiatives and promotion of City programs and services, among other programs, initiatives and events. 

The agreement builds off and extends the PSA that was originally struck in 2012 on the heels of the efforts of the Business Advisory Board, which ultimately created the Resident Shopper Vehicle Program (“RSVP”), allowing residents of Mill Valley and nearby towns to purchase an annual pass and park for free at metered spaces around town for at least two hours.

The multi-pronged agreement spans myriad programs, initiatives and events and includes a full-service Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center distributing valuable information about the full spectrum of City and County services, as well as the limitless array of ways to enjoy Mill Valley, to residents, businesses and visitors.

“Economic vitality, with an emphasis on small and local-serving businesses, remains one of our Core Values, and the Chamber continues to work in a multi-faceted way to create and sustain vitality in our community,” says Mill Valley Mayor Jim Wickham. “We look forward to continuing our ongoing collaboration for the next five years and beyond.”

"We're thrilled to extend this direct partnership with the City in a way that enhances our community in myriad ways," said Mike Son, chair of the MV Chamber Board of Directors. "We continue to provide great value to the City through this agreement and appreciate the City's prioritization of business and community vitality and our extensive communication capabilities."

Helpful information on doing business in Mill Valley can be found here.