Council split over tattoo studio

The committee went against the City officer’s recommendation by denying a change of use application from a fast food outlet to a tattoo studio last Tuesday.

The studio was planned for a vacant fast-food business on Michael Street in Yokine, and during the 21-day public advertising period, 15 objections to the change of use were lodged, with most concerned about the type of clientele that would frequent the establishment.

One objection went so far as to say tattoo studios ‘are a target for violence and fire bombs’.

But the officer’s report stated: ‘Many members of the public have tattoos, of various backgrounds and ages, and therefore the stigma of tattoo studios being associated with criminal activity and anti-social behaviour can be considered somewhat discriminatory for legitimate tattoo studio establishments.

‘It would be without merit to refuse this application based on potential social issues such as a tattoo studio’s perceived association with criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.’

But City councillors Rod Willox and Terry Tyzack pressed ahead with their objections, deciding that the application was not suitable under clause 4.2a of Town Planning Scheme 3.

This clause states that businesses in the area need to provide for a limited range of small-scale retail, commercial and community facilities to meet the day-to-day needs of the immediate neighbourhood.

The committee voted 4-3 in refusing the application, using the rationale that the studio would attract business from outside the immediate neighbourhood.

While the officers’ report said the proposed studio did not strictly comply with clause 4.2a of Town Planning Scheme, it also said that given the high mobility of the public, more and more people were seeking personal care services outside their immediate area.

Development and planning committee chairman Giovanni Italiano told the Guardian Express he disagreed with the reasoning behind the refusal, and said there were no planning grounds to refuse the application.

He confirmed he planned to debate the item at tonight’s full council meeting.