Saturday, October 20, 2007

Zahra Studio in the news and the news according to Zahra Studio

photo by Keith Zahra

Retrogression, the exhibit on view at the Gallery at Zahra Studio was featured in Kathleen Murray's column in POJO's Friday, October 19 edition.

Keith Zahra has recently added to his website his account of his drawn out and personally expensive fight with the City of Beacon to secure his ability to lawfully operate his tatoo studio on Main St.
In his narrative, Keith mentions a law passed in December 2000 that was intended to do an end run around his business' grandfathered status for a previous regulation limiting the approved locations for tattoo parlors to industrial areas. The cited law is from Chapter 223, Article III relating to General Regulations regarding zoning in the City's code.

Below is the text of the regulation:

K. Discontinuance of existing tattoo and body-piercing
parlors. [Added 12-4-2000 by L.L. No. 18-2000]
(1) Legislative intent. The
City Council hereby finds that certain business activities, in this case
tattoo and body-piercing parlors, by their nature have seriously objectionable operational characteristics which can lead to significant impacts on the surrounding community. The City Council further finds that the establishment of such uses would be inconsistent with the existing development and future plans for the City of Beacon in that such uses often result in influences on the community which undermine its economic, physical and social welfare. Further, such uses have been found to contribute to the blighting of surrounding residential and commercial areas as a result of the deterring of investment in and improvement of surrounding properties. For these reasons, such uses can adversely impact the general health, safety and economic well-being of the entire community. In addition, the location of these uses may be in areas where youth may regularly assemble, and the general atmosphere encompassing their operation is of great concern to the City Council.
Prohibiting the establishment of
tattoo and body-piercing parlors in the City will eliminate their potential accessibility to children and ensure that the effects of such businesses will not adversely affect the health, safety and economic well-being of the community. Further, it has been the experience of other municipalities, including the City of New York, that tattooing has led to increased cases of serum hepatitis. It has also been their experience that regulatory measures have proved ineffective in eliminating this health risk because of the inability to supervise tattooing establishments at all times. The City of Beacon also lacks the resources and personnel to supervise tattooing establishments on an ongoing basis. Accordingly, the City Council finds that in this City, as in other communities, a ban on tattooing
establishments under the City Code, except for medical purposes, is the only
feasible means of protecting the public against disease from this source.

(2) Discontinuance. The following provisions pertain to
tattoo and body-piercing parlors which are in existence on the effective date of this section. Said tattoo and body-piercing parlors shall be discontinued for the reasons stated in Subsection K(1) above, in accordance with the following schedule which is based upon the amount of
capital investment involved in the conversion of a subject premises into a
tattoo and/or body-piercing parlor. The owner of each building or the operator of each establishment to which this section pertains shall provide capital investment information, which has been certified by a registered architect or engineer, to the Building Department, and the Building Department shall have the authority to make the final determination as to the amount of capital investment which has occurred.
Capital Investment as of Effective Date of this Section
Date on or Before Which Use Shall Terminate
$0 to 25,000 June 30, 2001
$25,001 to $50,000 June 30, 2002
More than $50,000 June 30, 2003

The section I highlighted in red sounds more indicative of the kind of activity you're likely to find outside of our Main St. gas stations than what you'd ever see happening at Zahra's.

Keith has been touting October 15 of this year as the Lucky 7 Year Anniversary of when his struggle began.

It seems like this issue is still very much open, and so is Zahra Studio, but Keith wants this regulation stricken from the books so that he can operate lawfully and without fear of any capricious action of enforcement.

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