Tattoo parlor hearing set for Wednesday

Published 9:54 pm Saturday, March 14, 2009

Suffolk City Council will consider whether to allow the city’s first tattoo parlor during its meeting on Wednesday.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers at 441 Market St. A work session, which will include a report on real estate assessments, will precede the meeting at 4 p.m.

A conditional use permit request for the tattoo parlor and body-piercing salon, submitted by Jason Fulford, was approved at last month’s Planning Commission meeting. The business is planned to go in the Suburban Plaza Shopping Center on Portsmouth Boulevard.

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Although some planning commissioners admitted during the February meeting that they disapprove of tattooing, they still voted for the permit, because they said, they were considering a land use issue, not a moral issue. Commissioner James Rountree was the only commissioner to vote against the permit, and Commissioner William Perry abstained.

Fulford assured commissioners last month that he will adhere to all city codes, health department policies and state requirements. Tattoo artists in Virginia are required to be licensed by the state, a process that requires training in CPR, blood-borne pathogens, equipment sterilization and other relevant subjects.

Council is set to vote on the matter Wednesday following a public comment session.

Also on the agenda is a public hearing on a conditional use permit request to allow a new building for West Suffolk Baptist Church on Kenyon Road.

The church is moving from its current location, on U.S. Route 58, to a spot on Kenyon Road at the request of CenterPoint Properties. CenterPoint wants the church to move its facilities so that the company can build an entrance to the planned 930-acre distribution center on Holland Road. The entrance will be located on the northern side of the intersection of Holland and Manning Bridge roads, across from where the Target distribution center is located.

However, in order for the entrance to be built, West Suffolk Baptist Church must go. Therefore, CenterPoint provided the property and made a “large capital contribution” toward the construction of a new facility on Kenyon Road.

A third public hearing on Wednesday will be held to receive comments on an ordinance granting an exemption from taxation to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, a local group of health professionals who volunteer their time to provide medical care to uninsured or underinsured people in the region.