The art gallery is a permitted use in the area, but the tattoo studio required a conditional use permit approved by the commission or the council in the event of a successful appeal of the denial.
Commissioners expressed concerns at the initial hearing about the apparent lack of health-related oversight, non-licensed practitioners and control of minor clients.
The hearing was continued to allow time for staff to investigate regulations governing tattoo establishments in Laguna. The commission was advised May 14 that no regulations existed in Laguna’s municipal code.
Staff was asked to draft an ordinance for City Council consideration that would allow county health department inspections in Laguna.
An ordinance was passed by the council June 17 and went into effect July 17. The ordinance established health and safety standards for body art facilities in Laguna and required them to have a county health permit and city business license. Businesses were given a six-month grace period to comply with the ordinance.
There is only one tattoo establishment currently doing business in Laguna. It has been in operation for more than 25 years, and the owner said he was already in compliance with the ordinance requirements
The commissioner hearing on Quevara’s application resumed July 23. Based on the direction of commissioners at the April 9 meeting, the staff recommended approval of the tattoo studio.
“I objected to the direction to staff at the April meeting because at the time, we had no grounds to approve or disapprove the project,” Commissioner Ann Johnson said.
“We didn’t know what legislation, if any, the council would pass.”
Subsequently, staff reported that findings could not be made that the tattoo studio was no more obnoxious or harmful to the neighborhood than other listed uses.
“The neighborhood was already impacted, and I thought the business might be the tipping point for how the neighborhood perceived what has gone in there,” Johnson said.
“I might have looked more favorably on the project, if it was on a second floor.”
Johnson and Commissioners Rob Zur Schmiede and new recently appointed Robert Whalen voted against the project.
Commissioners Linda Dietrich and Norm Grossman favored it.
BARBARA DIAMOND can be reached at (949) 494-4321 or email@example.com.