Do Tattoo Businesses, Headshops Give Negative Impression of City?

City contemplating rewriting zoning laws to bar some businesses from opening downtown


Is there a "right" kind of business for downtown Petaluma?

And do certain businesses such as tattoo shops and stores selling drug paraphernalia create a bad impression for visitors?

On Tuesday, planning commissioners tackled this issue after the Petaluma Downtown Association sent a letter earlier this year urging the city to revise zoning for businesses that have “a potentially offensive, blighting and/or deteriorating effect upon surrounding areas.”

These include head shops, where pipes, rolling papers and marijuana accessories are sold, tattoo shops, pawn shops, fortune telling businesses, even hourly hot tub establishments and soup kitchens, the Argus Courier is reporting.

“Every shopping district tries to create an overall atmosphere and this town doesn’t have any guidelines for that,” Jeff Mayne, president of the downtown association, told the Argus. “We’re not trying to threaten existing businesses.”

Among businesses protesting the potential rezoning are tattoo shops that say their businesses draw customers from out of town, who then stay to eat and run other errands. Others said tattoos are art and that casting the businesses in a negative light was unfair. The issue is expected to return before the City Council this spring.

What do you think? Are you bothered by seeing tattoo stores and headshops in downtown Petaluma? Share your thoughts below.

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Timothy Nonn December 13, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Not as much as the new target, which will make petaluma look like a giant strip mall.
Cathe Holden December 13, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Tattoo shops, fine with me- I consider them art studios. Head shops- No thank you.
Jaimey Walking Bear December 14, 2012 at 06:22 AM
I love the tattoo shops downtown. Tattoo artists are artists. As valuable downtown as the art galleries and multitudes of antique stores, IMO.
mikeg55 December 14, 2012 at 02:59 PM
GET OVER IT or move
jmsstuff December 14, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Why no head shops, Cathe Holden? And what is "potentially offensive"? Offensive to whom? This is another tough issue for government officials. I do not know how you achieve it but the key I think is balance. Too many of any type of business makes downtown less interesting. A downtown of all restaurants would not be good. Or all antique shops, or all head shops or all tattoo shops. Some balance of ALL of those and more is fine with me. Makes it interesting.
Michael D. Levine December 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Shops do not dictate human behavior, people dictate human behavior. I have seen more insensitive and troublesome behavior in the so called nice shops, than in all the other shops combined. Should we take away stop lights because people run them all day long? This is the USa, expect good and moral behavior and you will see. In this holiday season I remember some saying "inlet he who is free from sib cast the first stone".
Barry Kruse December 14, 2012 at 04:43 PM
The thing that puzzles me is why tattoo parlors and head shops have no trouble getting in to Petaluma, but there's so much resistance to other businesses (the outlet center, Lowe's, Target, etc.). If people want to claim to be so non-judgmental about whether these businesses detract from Petaluma's image, why the double standard about more mainstream businesses?
irony on the right December 14, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I find it hysterical that someone like Jeff Mayne, who consistently preaches "free market solutions", for example, when he went to the council to fight against a weed abatement program with regards to foreclosed properties that he felt is best solved by the private sector, would take such a position. I get it, it's because he's a mortgage broker. So he's for a free market except when it involves stores he doesn't like? Extremely creepy. How dare you try to dictate what types of businesses locate here – that would be just like those you so often deride who feel the community has a role in deciding whether big box stores should open up. So you rally for big shopping centers that will generate tons of traffic and hurt local businesses, while saying other stores that don't fit your moral standards should not be welcome? Such a hypocrite. Get over yourselves downtown association......and why don't you put your energy where it will really help, lobby the Sheraton and KOA to accept a simply TOT increase so we can market the town better and bring more business.....tattoo or otherwise, if they aren't illegal and they are filling up otherwise vacant space, what's the issue? Again, Mr. Free Market, why not let the market determine whether there are too many tattoo shops....just as you claim the free market should decide if we have too many competing retail stores to support the demand with the big shopping centers now approved.
Kristi Quint December 14, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I believe tattoo parlors, massage parlors, head shops, antique shops, boutique clothing stores, etc....should be allowed to do business in downtown. If some people don't like the particular business, then they just shouldn't spend their money there. It's pretty simple. We all have stores we love, like or walk by. Spend your money where you want to...and just walk by the stores you don't.
Bill Fishman December 14, 2012 at 08:16 PM
What's next? Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the Electric Light Parade? We have a great downtown. Let's not try to turn it into Disneyland's "Main Street USA" by creating artificial restrictions on otherwise legitimate businesses.
AyurvedicMama December 14, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Let them do business. It's not anything I partake in, but it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I don't even think my children are aware of their presence. Ask me again about the tattoo shops when my kids become of legal age :) All joking aside, I spend money where I desire and avoid those places that don't interest me.
C Rogers December 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM
None of the businesses mentioned offended me either. What about some of these old, ratty bars? I find the Hideaway more offensive than a Tattoo shop.
ARSONVICTIM December 16, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Why don't we focus on more important things in Petaluma. I see so many for lease signs all over Petaluma. Some have been there for 8 years. What a stupid story this is. What about the homeless shelter behind goodwill bringing more crime to Petaluma.
Helena December 17, 2012 at 08:11 PM
The "for lease" signs up for years on the same properties simply indicate that folks who want to rent a spce are inhibited by the astronomical prices that landlords are asking. Also, Kentucky St and Pet. Boulevard are much less interesting for visiters who come to shop, with so many spaces being taken by more nail shops and exercise/workout/yoga studios. They can survive very nicely on back streets and shoping centers, but add nothing to the charm of the two main streets downtown.
drew washer December 17, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Exactly how sterile and colorless do we want our downtown to be... ?
Rhoda Schatzel-Svensson December 17, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Leave downtown alone, it is beautiful and eclectic. If you don't like "head shops" and tattoo parlors keep walking I am sure you will find something you do like. I believe that is why we have such a vibrant downtown; it is fun and interesting instead of boring and predictable. Why don't you find a way to make it better for everyone instead of trying to decide who you want to exclude.


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