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Town discusses ban on new tattoo parlors

May 02, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport Town Council at a work session Monday discussed changing the town's zoning text to bar new exotic dance clubs and tattoo and body piercing studios.

The Williamsport Planning Commission had sent the council a letter recommending the proposed zoning text change in its entirety.

The council will vote on the issue May 8, approving or rejecting either all or part of the proposed revisions.

Four of the 20 or so people who objected at an April public hearing to banning new tattoo and piercing salons - but who supported barring exotic dance clubs - attended the work session.

Among those present were Jared Jordan and Tisha Saville, who operate Mr. Natural's Tattoo Studio and Ms. Natural's Body Piercing at 3 N. Conococheague St. The businesses are the only such establishments in town.

Existing tattoo, piercing and exotic dancing businesses would not have to leave town, but wouldn't be able to move if the zoning text were changed.

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There are no exotic dance clubs in Williamsport.

Assistant Mayor James Black said he and other council members visited the tattoo and piercing salon after the public hearing. It was Black's first visit to such a business, he said.

"I was impressed."

Black recommended barring new exotic dance clubs, but allowing new tattoo and piercing studios in any Williamsport zoning district by special exception. Applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

"It would give everyone a fair shake," he said.

Mayor John Slayman said special exception permits would "open the door, but how far? How wide?"

Applicants rejected by the town's zoning board would have to go before an appeals board, Slayman said.

Councilmen James Kalbfleisch and Earle Pereschuk agreed with Black, although Pereschuk noted that he was morally opposed to tattoos.

Kalbfleisch sports several tattoos.

"I'd be kind of a hypocrite if I said anything," he said.

Councilwomen Roxann Long and Gloria Bitner and Councilman Walter Tracy did not comment on the issue.

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