Granby mayor: Proposed tattoo ordinance was just a vehicle for discussion
March 12, 2008
It’s not tattoo parlors and pawn shops that retail business owner Ken Anderson fears for his Granby downtown, he said at Tuesday’s town board meeting.
It’s the threat of a future “big box” landing outside of the downtown.
Mayor Ted Wang started the “What do we want our downtown to look like in the future” forum with the following statement: “There have been a lot of misconceptions being heard throughout the community and printed in the paper. At no time was there any consideration of banning or closing down either the existing pawn shop or the tattoo parlor in Granby.”
The purpose of the mayor directing Town Attorney Scott Krob to formulate an ordinance limiting future pawn shops and tattoo parlors in the downtown was a directive executed merely to launch discussion on the aforementioned topic, the mayor clarified.
But the subsequent controversy that erupted from greater Granby citizen Patrick Brower’s letter to the editor in the Sky-Hi Daily News, which broke the story to the public, put the kibosh on that idea.
“My hope was to focus the discussion,” Wang said. “But it became so inflamed, and there were so many misrepresentations out there, in hindsight it was a mistake to do it that way.”
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Nevertheless, some citizens who attended the meeting were set on saying their piece.
Brower himself went to the podium and cross-examined Wang, confronting him about his retreat from what triggered the controversy.
“Did you not ask Scott Krob to write an ordinance banning pawn shops and tattoo parlors in Granby?” Brower asked.
The mayor reiterated that the discussion did not target existing businesses, rather was a proposed ordinance intended to create a “framework for discussing” what Granby should be like in the future.
Brower commended the discussion at hand about Granby’s future, but criticized the manner in which it was introduced.
“Unfortunately,” Brower said, directing his comment to Wang. “You get people’s attention when you propose controversy.”
Kim Trygg, who attended the meeting with son Justin who works at the local tattoo parlor as an apprentice, pointed out that had the ordinance gone further than just a suggestion, it very well could have been the last hurrah for pawn shops in Granby, considering the only local pawn shop was in the process of closing.
Her son approached the topic academically. From his studies at the University of Wyoming, Justin said he had contacted the head of the college of economics, who relayed that any walk-in business in a downtown can increase traffic for the entire block of businesses.
Justin addressed the entire board about perhaps not having invested itself enough to form opinions about such businesses, since from only a limited show of hands, most of the board members had never even been inside the shop. At that point, Trustee Ed Raffety interjected. It wasn’t the board that proposed crafting a resolution concerning such shops, he said, it was the mayor.
“I’m not trying to make Ted a target,” Raffety said. “But that is what happened.”
“Right now, we don’t have a ton of businesses knocking on our doors,” said Rod Lock later in the discussion. Lock volunteers on Granby’s Downtown Enhancement Committee. Any business that fills a vacancy is a positive contributor to the town, he said.
Krob said the mayor’s directive as he understood it was “not to ban anything,” but to start discussions. In the research he had begun, he found that towns setting controls for the downtown, perhaps affecting such businesses, is not uncommon. In example, Vail, Frisco and Breckenridge don’t specify tattoo shops when addressing what is welcomed or regulated in those towns. “Golden and Telluride do,” he said.
Downtown Enhancement Director Betsy Cook provided a Main Street, USA perspective, since Granby is now one of its 6,000 members throughout the nation.
Cook supported Krob’s findings that many towns throughout the U.S. do address certain businesses in their downtowns.
As far as Granby’s downtown, however, local meetings already are under way to come up with its own unique formula, she said. And if popular opinion voiced in surveys someday rings true, she continued, Granby would become more pedestrian-friendly with downtown seating, places to hang out, events and more shopping with interesting things to look at, such as one or more art galleries. And ideally, downtown Granby would have a “good mix” of shops and no vacancies.
“A rising tide will sell boats,” she said.
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