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Law to restrict businesses on El Paseo, 111 put on hold
The Desert Sun • April 23, 2010

Tattoo shops, massage businesses and smoke shops on Highway 111 and El Paseo in Palm Desert got a partial reprieve Thursday as the City Council put a hold on a proposed law that could restrict their ability to move to new locations on the two streets.

The proposed ordinance could still put a freeze on the number of tattoo shops, massage businesses and smoke shops on El Paseo and Highway 111, considered Palm Desert's central business corridors, to maintain the city's reputation for upscale retail.

The proposed ordinance, passed last month by the Planning Commission, also targets pool halls, bail bonds businesses and fortune tellers, allowing those businesses already on the street to remain, but only in their current locations, and banning any newcomers.

Buddy Haynes, co-owner of Ink Sanity, a tattoo shop at 73-338 Highway 111, argued the no-move provision is unfair, leaving businesses such as his at the mercy of landlords who could jack up rents while limiting their ability to grow.

“If business is good, we want the opportunity to move across the street,” Haynes said.

The city now has five tattoo shops, eight massage businesses, three smoke shops and one fortune teller, a palm reader, on El Paseo and Highway 111, according to a staff report.

“If we have too many, it's our fault,” said Councilwoman Jean Benson, who made the motion to revise the proposed law.

But she said, the existing businesses “do have the right to expand or downsize. I think we should be more lenient to them.”

The vote was 3-1 with Mayor Pro Tem Jim Ferguson absent and Councilman Dick Kelly voting no.

“I think (the proposed ordinance) is very arrogant, when we start picking out all these establishments,” Kelly said. “There are a lot of people who like tattoos, who want tattoos.”

In other action
The council voted 4-0 to reaffirm its decision to reinstate its sphere of influence over Sun City Palm Desert and its adjacent commercial areas on Washington Street north of Interstate Highway 10.
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“Sphere of influence” is an official term used by the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission, called LAFCO, to refer to an unincorporated area a city might annex in the future.



Palm Desert has seesawed on its connection with Sun City in recent years, letting go of its sphere of influence on the Del Webb gated community in April 2007, then taking it back in December 2008 after intensive lobbying by the residents.

LAFCO asked for another vote following objections from residents of Thousands Palms, who want eventually to incorporate on their own and are looking to keep one of Sun City's commercial areas, located on the east side of Washington.

“We are fighting to keep Thousand Palms from being cut down in size,” said resident Patricia Saleh. “We need all (our) commercial areas.”

Sun City resident Corky Larson, a former Riverside County supervisor, said the sphere of influence would not hurt Thousand Palms.

“The sphere could be changed,” Larson said. “We'll work with (Thousand Palms) in any way possible to fulfill their dreams.” “Sphere of influence” is an official term used by the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission, called LAFCO, to refer to an unincorporated area a city might annex in the future.

Palm Desert has seesawed on its connection with Sun City in recent years, letting go of its sphere of influence on the Del Webb gated community in April 2007, then taking it back in December 2008 after intensive lobbying by the residents.

LAFCO asked for another vote following objections from residents of Thousands Palms, who want eventually to incorporate on their own and are looking to keep one of Sun City's commercial areas, located on the east side of Washington.

“We are fighting to keep Thousand Palms from being cut down in size,” said resident Patricia Saleh. “We need all (our) commercial areas.”

Sun City resident Corky Larson, a former Riverside County supervisor, said the sphere of influence would not hurt Thousand Palms.

“The sphere could be changed,” Larson said. “We'll work with (Thousand Palms) in any way possible to fulfill their dreams.”

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