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City Council Meeting - February 8

Not much heat in tattoo parlor discussion. More information sought.
Marc Knapp who covers City Council

As promised in a meeting late last year, Council, last night, got to discuss the possible location of tattoo "parlors" in the City. Presently they are banned, but with Columbia moving to license them, the City is getting its house in order.

Lee Batchelder, Assistant Director and Zoning Administrator presented a preliminary proposal. As he pointed out, the proposal was the first step and more a basis for discussion than anything else. Nothing was written in stone. And council's reaction was uncertainty. It subsequently deferred discussion on the matter, asking the City to come back with more information.

The City's "proposal" was to allow tattoo services but to limit them to Heavy Industrial (HI) Light Industrial (LI) and Business Parks (BP). They would also be disallowed in the Savannah Highway Overlay Zone. On the face of it, this zoning restriction would be sufficient to keep tattooing out of commercial areas and away from residential areas. But the maps produced by the City showing the distribution of HI and LI zonings, and to a lesser extent, BP zonings, indicated that the Industrial zonings came very close to residential areas. On the Peninsula for example, much of the eastern side of East Bay Street was LI. Parts of King and Meeting Street were also LI. There were other parts of the City, in West Ashley, that also had LI areas close to residential areas.

The proximity of the industrial zonings prompted some of the council to ponder whether some of the properties should be re-zoned to something more appropriate under a "commercial" category. Or maybe the City should find some way to restrain the opening of parlors in industrial areas that are close to residential areas?

Council member Fishburne also remarked that the Neighborhood Associations should have an opportunity to consider the location of the Industrial zonings and have input in to the decision making of the Council. As he rightly opined, a lot of citizens may be surprised to see how close industrial areas impinged on to residential areas.

Interestingly, there was no suggestion by any council member that the zonings proposed by the city were too tight. There was no suggestion that tattoo services be allowed in any commercial area. Indeed, Council member Evans suggested that tattoo services be confined to HI zonings only.

So it has gone back to City Zoning for further consideration.

Last night's discussion on tattoo services precluded any involvement by the public. Discussion was confined to council members.

There was little else of note and the Council meeting last night. There were the usual recognitions and re-zonings but nothing material.

Mayor Pro-tem Morinelli performs well
On a lighter note we would like to record Council member Morinelli's performance as Mayor Pro-tem. She expressed some uneasiness about taking on the mantle. But we thought she did a good job and "yours truly" was grateful for the recognition during Citizens Participation time. Her mood infected the Council and the meeting. There was no lack of order but we felt the meeting was relaxed and tension free.

Coincidence? Perhaps.

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