The Washington C.H. City Council passed the first reading of a new ordinance Wednesday that would change the zoning of the downtown business district to allow for a tattoo parlor.
The ordinance, if approved on all three readings, will amend an existing ordinance that previously omitted tattoo parlors from the language. The first reading passed 6-1 on Wednesday.
“We have a very nice, well-established family that has an interest in moving downtown and all ready has a place picked out,” City Manager Joe Denen told council Wednesday night at the regular meeting. “They have been issued an occupancy permit, but it would be easier to know what we can do if we pass this ordinance.”
Terry Gruber and family own and operate True Blue Tattoo, which is currently located at 2368 US Route 22. The owners of the local tattoo parlor have hoped to move to a downtown location for awhile, and should this ordinance pass, the move will be possible.
The purpose of having a B-2 downtown business district is to provide for a wide range of commercial, retail and service facilities of such a nature as to be compatible with the specific environment of the downtown area. The Downtown Business District is intended to provide for a more intensive type of commercial activity than the B-1 District, however, such activity should be pedestrian-oriented, and compatible with the reuse of existing, older structures.
“We are trying to make downtown better and trying to improve our image, so I just don’t see how this will help,” said Ted Hawk, who was the only council member to vote against the measure. “I just can’t think of another way to articulate what I’m thinking. I just don’t see how this will help improve our image.”
“I will not be getting a tattoo, but I think that they are becoming more readily acceptable in society and as long as this is done tastefully, it’s a good thing,” council member Leah Foster said. “If they don’t come here, they’re just going to go somewhere else, so we need to keep our businesses here and this is a good thing.”
Council member Steve Jennings agreed with Foster’s statement in favor of changing the zoning ordinance.
“I wanted to say that if I ever get the nerve, I do want to get a tattoo,” said council member Kim Bonnell. “I want it to be small, but I do want it, and someday I’ll get the nerve up. There is a movement that has to do with mental health and I think it’s important because there is a problem with mental health. It’s a semicolon, and it’s a semicolon because it shows the author had the option to stop but decided to continue. I think that’s important. But when I do get the nerve, I would like to be able to get my tattoo in town. I just want to speak up in support of the ordinance and tattoo shops. I never thought they were bad things, and I think we do need to move with the times.”
Denen noted in his report that the city has changed the brand and quality of the paint used for the streets and so far, the city is very pleased with the results.
“Be very careful, however,” Denen said. “Yellow paint does not look good on cars and the blue for the handicap spots looks even worse.”
Denen reminded the council that the deadline for the public to turn in applications for the open position with the Washington Police Department is Sept. 18.
The council officially named Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. as the 2015 Beggar’s Night. The Trick or Treat in the Park has been set for Saturday, Oct. 24, starting at 6 p.m..
Reach Kellee Bonnell at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @newskelleebee.