It has been 22 years since the City of Peekskill has seen anyone get legally inked within its borders. But that could soon change now that the City Council has held its on repealing the city’s tattoo ban, placed in 1990, and heard little opposition to the idea on Monday.
At the July 16 city council meeting, city planner Jeremy Doxsee provided a summary of the city’s proposal to repeal the tattoo ban and to amend a law to allow tattoo studios, under a special permit, in the downtown, commercial and industrial districts of the city. The city began these considerations two years ago after local tattoo artist Patrick Conlon went to the planning board with an idea to open a tattoo studio.
Among the requirements which would be included in the new regulations that Doxsee listed are:
- Tattoo studios would need license renewals every two years
- All tattooing must be done in designated, enclosed areas out of public view
- No tattoo studio could be closer than 500 feet to any other studio
- No closer than 500 feet to any k-12 school
- Studios would not be permitted on Main Street between Nelson Avenue and N. Division Street and on South Street between Washington and Union Avenues
- Studios must operate between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.
- No convicted felons could apply to open tattoo shop
- Tattooing must be principal use
- Must have appropriate disposal of biohazard waste
Read the full proposed changes to the local law in the PDF attached to this article.
Monday’s meeting was held in the Seniors Center, something the council does each summer to bring the meeting to the seniors. A few senior citizens spoke on the issue, but none voiced strong opposition to the proposal.
The speakers mainly asked questions -if there would be a limit to how many tattoo studios would be allowed in the downtown and if they could vote on the issue, and one woman asked that the city ensure the owner would properly dispose of needles.
Mayor Mary Foster explained that because the studios would need to be within 500 feet of each other, not many would be able to open in the down town. She also explained that the city does not hold public votes for local law changes like this.
One woman asked the Council what benefit they saw in allowing tattoo shops in Peekskill.
Foster explained that the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District both support the repeal. She added several thoughts explaining that that tattoos are more prevalent now than they were two or three decades ago; are expensive; require multiple trips to the studio which brings more people downtown more often and that the biggest demographic is the “soccer mom” – 30-40-year-old woman.
“We have viewed it from many angles to be a positive and the impressions and images of tattoo joints of 20 and 30 years ago really isn’t what a current tattoo studio is,” Foster said.
The Mayor also explained that the other businesses in the downtown did not express extreme opposition to a potential tattoo parlor and that tattoos represent a new type of art form which would add to the many kinds of art in the downtown artists district.
“If it is a well run business, it is really up to who is the business owner,” Foster said. “If the business owner is a reputable person and runs a good business, then any business is good.”
Sonny Cover, Peekskill Coffee House owner and Patrick Conlon’s wife, thanked the council for their diligence in working with them to address how they would handle health issues but expressed two concerns: the blocking off of Main and South Streets and a proposed requirement that 50 percent of the space be used as an art gallery.
Cover said they would not be able to consider nine currently vacant properties if the city blocks off parts of Main and South streets as permitted areas for a tattoo studio.
Once Cover finished the Council closed the public hearing. The Council will consider the comments made at the hearing and most likely move forward with a resolution. Read the full local law proposal in the PDF attached to this article.