Help us fight for zoning equal rights
Help us fight for zoning equal rights
On August 24th, 2011 the American Fork city council held a public meeting. The present were mayor Heber Thompson, councilmen Sherry Kramer, Heidi Rodeback, Dale Gunther, Shirl LeBaron and Rick Storrs.
Councilman Dale Gunther proposed that he wanted to revitalize downtown area, he felt would attract better shoppers and get rid of less desirable businesses, and in his opinion, tattoo shops were both going to do the opposite as well as "served as a threat to the public" as well as was sexual in nature. While failing to put tattoo shops in the SOB category with adult novelty stores, they in turn decided to control the issue by making zoning incredibly difficult, making so that tattoo shops have to be more than a mile from each other. Because of how condensed the main commercial downtown area is, this ensures that only one tattoo shop can open. He also stated that he didn't consider piercing a problem, just tattoo shops. While the city reminded him of possible discrimination lawsuits, this zoning was passed as a compromise just the same, and remains unchanged.
Because we personally were involved in helping to write the body arts regulations with the Utah County health department, we know that per health department and licensing standards, tattoo artists and permanent cosmetics artists are one in the same, they operate under the same body art licensing, the same health department regulations and both are performing tattoo procedures. The buildings they operate in, have the same licensing and regulations and tax codes. The city of American fork however, does not apply the same zoning regulations to permanent cosmetics shops, most of which violate one to several of the tattoo zoning laws, and many of them performing single needle micro tattooing. The city is aware of them, and they get to fall under beauty salons. While this is not about permanent cosmetics, since it's a service we offer, it's about fair zoning rules.
We feel as though there is no room for personal feelings or beliefs in law making, and our law makers who represent us, should represent all of us, and not just the voices that share the same feelings and beliefs.
We feel these regulations were never to better the city, but rather discriminatory towards a practice that a few members of city council found to be less desirable and would attract a bad crowd. Because permanent cosmetics is accepted in our conservative community, we feel is why they do not have to abide by the same rules, despite performing the same job, just on different body parts.
While the main councilmen and city attorney to have voted this in place are no longer on the bench, we need your help to hold them accountable for what we feel is discrimination. To let us show them that tattoo shops ran well, are pivotal for our county, that we aren't here to rebel against our conservative peers, we are here to always be respectful, bridge our long divided community and to show that we will always strive to better our community. We share a major common end point, we want to uplift our surroundings as we have done in every location we have been in, the last 25 years of being in this industry. We want to bridge our communities. We have far more in common than we do in differences.
We have the full court records as well as the transcript of this public hearing that we can have available for anyone to read.
Our shop is the longest running shop in Utah County, we pride ourselves in having worked for two decades on bridging our communities. We are known for our fundraisers and working to better every place we have ever been in, and with your help we can continue to work hard to end the stigma of tattoo shops.