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(a) Any owner or manager of a restaurant may apply to the Controller for an exemption from or modification of the requirements of this Article based on significant financial hardship caused by compliance with this Article. The applicant shall include all information required by the Controller. An application for exemption or modification shall be accompanied by a reasonable fee established by the Controller to cover the costs required to process the application and make a determination. The Controller shall give the Department of Public Health an opportunity to present relevant information with respect to each application.
(b) The applicant shall have the burden of proof in establishing that this Article has created an unreasonable economic effect on the applicant's business and threatens the survival of the restaurant, and that this economic effect is not the result of seasonal fluctuations or other conditions unrelated to the requirements of this Article. The Controller shall act on the application pursuant to administrative regulations adopted by the Controller. The Controller shall not be required to conduct a hearing on the application. The Controller shall issue a decision in writing to the applicant and to any other person who has requested a copy.
(c) The decision of the Controller may be appealed within 15 days of the issuance of the decision to the Board of Permit Appeals by the applicant or by any person who deems that his or her interests or that the general public interest will be adversely affected by the decision. The Board of Permit Appeals may concur in, overrule or modify the Controller's decision. The provisions of Sections 8 through 16 of Part III of the San Francisco Municipal Code shall govern the appeal process.
(d) No exemptions or modifications shall be granted to any restaurant which has not been smokefree for a period of less than six months. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, any restaurant which has been granted an exemption or modification from the requirements of this Article shall not permit smoking in more than 25 percent of the seating or floor space of the restaurant.
(e) Exemptions granted by the Controller or the Board of Permit Appeals shall be valid for a period not to exceed 12 months and may be renewed upon application to the Controller. Applications for renewal shall be subject to the same requirements and procedures as initial applications.
(Added by Ord. 359-93, App. 11/18/93)