Bosque Farms considering commercial ordinances

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The Bosque Farms Planning and Zoning commission held a workshop last week to begin the process of reviewing the village's ordinances on commercial enterprises along Bosque Farms Boulevard.

Chairman Dan Garrison said the commissioners have been directed by the mayor and council to review the ordinances, specifically focusing on types of businesses that may have a negative impact on the village and are currently unregulated.

Last month, the village council imposed a 60-day moratorium on new business licenses and building permits along the boulevard, pending a revision of the ordinances.

The moratorium expires on July 25. The council has the option to extend it another 60 days.

Loretta Hatch, village planning and zoning officer, said she has been researching ordinances in other communities and what they regulated, as far as businesses were concerned.

"I've noticed a lot of regulations placed on smoke shops, tattoo parlors, second hand shops, payday loan places, scrap dealers and adult entertainment facilities," Hatch said. "It seems to be because of the type of business it is, the type of people they attract, how late they are open.

"The question becomes, 'Can your community handle that amount of people all in one place at one time?' Smoke shops, adult entertainment, are inundated at certain hours."

Hatch said check cashing and payday loan establishments are being regulated because they "prey on the less fortunate." She said many of the ordinances prohibited certain regulated businesses from being within a certain distance of another regulated business.

"For instance, if you have a smoke shop, you can't have a tattoo place within so many hundred feet of it," she said. "Other regulations specify a distance from places where kids would go to seek entertainment, like bowling alleys and arcades."

Regulations for businesses such as pawn shops, junk dealers and second hand shops required special use permits, Hatch said.

"And for pawn brokers, there are new laws coming out in July that require them to record the goods they receive," she said "They have to keep them for so many days, record who they got the items from, take of the items."

Hatch said regulations on adult-oriented businesses in some municipalities require that anyone with ownership in business, management in the business and sometimes down to employment at the business, had to pass a background check by local authorities and be free of any misdemeanor, felony or moral turpitude charges.

Hatch also recommended the village incorporate the safe body art practices legislation that makes sure body modification businesses operate sanitarily, are licensed and inspected.

"We need to put something in that ensures they comply with the act and we see evidence," she said.

Regulations on smoke shops vary, Hatch said, from out-and-out banning people under 18 to allowing them to come in but not make purchases.

Commissioner John Craig said he had a list of a dozen types of businesses he would like the village to consider regulating, including recycling, check cashing, pawn shops, second hand stores, smoke shops, tattoo shops, massage parlors, tanning salons, adult entertainment, scarification parlors, body piercing shops and bail bonds companies.

"Reading through the literature, these types of businesses can have the same kind of effect in the clientele it can draw to those businesses," Craig said. "That's the distinction."

Commissioner Sharon Eastman said she had "some heartburn" with some of the business types Craig suggested.

"Several beauty shops have a tanning bed," Eastman said. "There is therapeutic massage. There is a huge difference between a sex act in a back room versus a massage for muscular problems."

Hatch said regulations would come in regarding licensing and inspections.

"Let's say there is a beauty parlor that does permanent tattoo make-up," she said.

Eastman noted that there is a beauty shop in the village that does permanent make-up.

"We have to decide how to distinguish between that tattooing and other tattooing," Hatch said. "Then you start dealing with opinions and preferences. One person thinks it's OK to tattoo on eyeliner, but not a tattoo, say, on your foot."

Hatch also cautioned that the village may not be able to restrict the sale of certain products that, while used for illegal and possible harmful purposes, weren't illegal.

"This is going to be tough," she said.

"The 60 days won't be enough," Eastman said.

The planning and zoning commission is holding another workshop to further discuss the ordinances at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 28 at the village hall.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.