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Tattoo Artist Speaks In Favor Of Zoning Change

Denise de la Cerda, tattoo artist, discussing the need for city officials to change its zoning laws to allow for body art facilities to operate in downtown Jamestown during a public hearing on a proposal for a local law to change the city’s current zoning laws. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The possibility of tattoo artists operating in downtown Jamestown is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Wednesday, Jamestown officials held a public hearing on the proposal to pass a local law to change the city’s current zoning laws to allow for body art facilities to operate downtown.

During the public hearing, the only person to speak was Denise de la Cerda, a tattoo artist who was denied a use variance in November 2019 because of the city’s strict zoning regulations. de la Cerda said, after the public hearing, if the zoning laws in the city are changed, she would operate as a tattoo artist in the city’s downtown at the location where she was planning to work if the use variance had been approved.

In November 2019, de la Cerda was denied a use variance to operate a tattoo studio at 14 E. Fourth St., Jamestown. de la Cerda had proposed opening an appointment-only tattoo studio, along with a fine arts studio. She said there would only be about three appointments a week for the tattoo studio, and didn’t expect that much more foot traffic for the fine arts studio. She said the tattoo business would have been located above Maurice’s Beauty Salon and would have been in close proximity to businesses like the Labyrinth Press Co. and Brazil Craft Beer & Wine Lounge, so the business wouldn’t have created a significant increase in foot traffic along East Fourth Street.

“Maurice (Paterniti, owner of Maurice’s Beauty Salon) likes the idea. It’s always good when the landlord is on your side,” de la Cerda said.

During the public hearing, de la Cerda said she has been a tattoo artist for 25 years. She wants to work in the city to be closer to family, but said she would need to move to another city to work if the city doesn’t change its zoning. She added that when city officials don’t allow for tattoo artists to work in commercial districts that is when illegal, unhealthy operations open.

“When a location doesn’t allow it to do it openly, it forces it underground,” she said. “I hope (city officials) zone (tattoo artist) in for the greater public good.”

Following the public hearing, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist told de la Cerda that if the Jamestown City Council approves the change at it’s next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, that it will take the state about 20 days to process the local law changing the zoning code.

The city’s current zoning only allows for tattoo parlors to be located in service and highway commercial, light manufacturing and manufacturing zoned areas of the city. If the council approves the zoning change, body art facilities would be able to operate in Neighborhood Commercial, Community Commercial, Central Business-Downtown, Central Commercial and Multiple-Family Residential and Professional Office zoned districts of the city.

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