Ordinance Hindering Tattoo Shop is Modified

Mayor John Denver brought last night’s City Council meeting to order with a reminder to those present of the code of conduct for attending s...

Mayor John Denver brought last night’s City Council meeting to order with a reminder to those present of the code of conduct for attending such official city business. He continued to say, “This is not a meeting of the public. This is an orderly City Council meeting.”

Perhaps this should have been an indication of the somewhat heated discussion to follow.

While last night’s City Council meeting (literally) covered a lot of ground, discussing a general plan draft land use map, what was surprisingly only touched on was the tattoo shop issues at hand.

Over the course of the past month and a half Milton Chavez has been battling City Council, and every ordinance obstructing his path, for what he is trying to make Menifee’s first tattoo establishment.

His proposed location originally intended to open up shop in the Newport Commons business center at 27174 Newport Road in Menifee. His first attempt was met with an existing city ordinance stating that a tattoo shop could not be within 1,000 feet of any church, in this case his location was 913 feet away from Seventh Day Adventist Church.

At the following February 8th meeting City Council agreed to amend the ordinance from 1,000 feet down to within 500 feet of a church, seemingly granting Chavez progress. But that was only the beginning of his battle.

It was observed that the intended location was in violation of a different ordinance as well, asserting no tattoo shop could lie within 500 feet of any alcohol sale. To which Chavez’ position put him too close to the AM/PM at Bradley and Newport Road.

While the tattoo topic has roused citizens on the both sides of the fence for weeks, last night’s standing room only crowd and lengthy discussion centered on a completely different topic. The possible rezoning of land that would change the description of rural property has Menifee residents, as well as some council members, simply outraged.

After arguing in circles with no foreseeable conclusion the Mayor called a brief ten-minute recess, following which the Council agreed to table this particular issue for another time. Hearing this decision the Chamber nearly cleared of people.

Towards the end of the meeting now, to a mostly empty Council Chamber, on the topic of tattoo City Council again amended another ordinance and yet again created more hoops for Chavez to jump through.

Addressing previous ordinance restrictions City Manager William Rawlings indicated that a tattoo shop would conditionally be allowed within 500 feet of liquor sales. To which Councilmember Susan Kristjansson clarified two points.

The first point made was that no tattoo establishment could be within 500 feet, or in the same shopping center, as another tattoo shop. Which does not hinder the project at hand, but would only affect future businesses should Chavez eventually succeed.

Kristjansson’s second point, in reference to the alcohol ordinance, specified that while a tattoo shop can be within 500 feet of alcohol sales she was proposing a language change to include the term "on premise alcohol consumption".

The ordinance was modified with the addition of words to read, a tattoo shop may not be within 500 feet of any establishment which permits the consumption of alcohol on site.

City Attorney, Joseph Fletcher, went on to say this would include places with onsale permits for alcohol sale including restaurants and bars.

Thus, the ordinance opened up more potential locations in Menifee for Chavez to open his shop. It was not stated whether his original location would comply with this new ordinance.

Councilmember, Darci Kuenzi, agreed saying, “This will allow for an appropriately located tattoo parlor.” This seemingly good news was met with no further discussion, no