After two years of discussion and several drafts, Peekskill’s Common Council will be holding a public hearing on a proposed law that would allow tattoo studios to open in industrial areas and shopping centers, but not in the artist district. An earlier draft of this law, which received strong support from the Planning Commission, did allow them in the artist district under strict limits on location so as to keep them far from churches and schools.
Some may call the new proposal progress, as right now local law forbids tattoo studios within the city limits. Progress it may be, but not very significant, especially as for about a year and a half, the focus was on making this work within the artist district. Why not allow a tattoo artist to practice his art in the artist district? I haven’t heard a single reason for relegating them to industrial areas and shopping centers that stands scrutiny, so I have to believe that this change in the proposed law is driven by fear, irrational fear.
When the artist district was proposed, years ago, I was skeptical. I didn’t think it could bring the economic development that city officials were promising. I was wrong. Now that we have an artist district, complete with a charmingly funky coffee house, several galleries, plenty of local artists, and many music venues offering diverse musical performances, the downtown really does have a much better vibe. How does a high-quality tattoo studio not fit in?
There was a time when tattoos were considered racy, even scandalous. They were mostly associated with two groups: hardcore bikers and enlisted military men, groups that have also been associated with rowdy public behavior. But you know, it’s been a long time since “The Wild One.”
Every summer since 1981 my wife and I have spent at least one week at the shore, either Cape May, NJ or Lewes, DE (i.e., not Snooki territory). Over that time the sight of tattoos has gone from rare to common. It’s not a surprise any more to see a young couple, each sporting one or more tattoos, playing with their kids in the sand. Even Ann Landers, in an August, 2011 edition of the Journal News, called them mainstream.
We have a good opportunity to fill one of our vacant storefronts with a popular business owned and operated by a resident with roots in our community. He does high quality work, is a partner with his wife in another popular downtown business, and the two of them are raising their daughter here. He has every reason to do this right, and if you knew him, you would know he will. Let’s not ban him from the artist district, where he would have the best chance of succeeding, out of fear that is based on little more than movie clichés and one bad local experience a generation ago.
Phone or Email the Mayor and Common Council http://www.cityofpeekskill.com/commoncouncil , and please show your support for rewriting this law to allow tattoo studios in the artist’s district (as under the previous draft)at the public hearing: City Hall, April 23, 7:30 PM.