The Jamestown City Council has approved an ordinance that will allow body art facilities to operate downtown.
On Monday during the regular voting session of the council, the ordinance was approved allowing for the rezoning of body art facilities so they can operate downtown. The city’s former zoning laws only allowed for tattoo parlors to be located in service and highway commercial, light manufacturing and manufacturing zoned areas of the city. With the approved zoning change, body art facilities will be able to operate in Neighborhood Commercial, Community Commercial, Central Business-Downtown, Central Commercial and Multiple-Family Residential and Professional Office zoned districts of the city.
Earlier this month, city officials held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance to provide for rezoning of body art facilities. During the public hearing only one person spoke, Denise de la Cerda, a tattoo artist who was denied a use variance in November 2019 because of the city’s strict zoning regulations. de la Cerda said, after the public hearing, if the zoning laws in the city are changed, she would operate as a tattoo artist in the city’s downtown at the location where she was planning to work if the use variance had been approved.
In November 2019, de la Cerda was denied a use variance to operate a tattoo studio at 14 E. Fourth St., Jamestown. de la Cerda had proposed opening an appointment-only tattoo studio, along with a fine arts studio. She said there would only be about three appointments a week for the tattoo studio, and didn’t expect that much more foot traffic for the fine arts studio. She said the tattoo business would have been located above Maurice’s Beauty Salon and would have been in close proximity to businesses like the Labyrinth Press Co. and Brazil Craft Beer & Wine Lounge, so the business wouldn’t have created a significant increase in foot traffic along East Fourth Street.
In other business, the council approved authorizing a parking ticket amnesty program during the month of October. The program will allow people with a parking violation to bring a donation to waive any penalties on the ticket. The donation can be school supplies, canned goods or an item for the elderly. The amnesty program will only apply to the five oldest tickets owed, with one donation for each ticket.
Earlier this month, Kim Ecklund, At-Large councilwoman, said there is a total of $319,144.50 owed in parking tickets and penalties over the last five years. Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said, in total, there is more than $500,000 owed to the city.
The city of Jamestown last ran a parking ticket amnesty program in 2016. The program was announced in March 2016 and operated during the month of April. The program allowed vehicle owners with outstanding tickets to pay the face value of those tickets, waiving any penalties or fees that may have accrued.
City officials in the spring of 2016 reported raising between $25,000 to $30,000 from the one month parking ticket amnesty program.
The council approved three resolutions dealing with installing smart parking meters and wayfinding signs in the downtown. One of the resolution will authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement with ID SignSystems Inc. for $472,788 for the project. Another resolution will authorize the use of $22,000 from the contingency budget. The third resolution will authorize the mayor to execute all necessary agreements.
Earlier this month, Sundquist said not all of the parking meters will be replaced, but 135 smart parking meters will be installed downtown. He said because the original bids on the project came in higher than expected, city officials acquired more funding from the federal and state governments for the project. However, this also increased the local match for the project, of which the city will now fund $22,000 from the contingency budget. The Gebbie Foundation is also funding $100,000 toward the local match.
In 2017, city officials received the federal Transportation Alternatives Program/Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant for $400,000. However, because of the increased cost of the project, the state awarded the city an additional $88,000 in federal funding.
The council approved hiring Wright, Wright and Hampton attorney Joseph Calimeri for a cost not to exceed $10,000 for the lawsuit with Patterson-Stevens, the contractor hired by the city to renovate Tracy Plaza. In a staff report written by Elliot Raimondo, city corporation counsel, to Sundquist, Raimondo states that he reached out to Calimeri because he specializes in municipal litigation and has represented the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, as well as other local municipalities, in the past.
In July, Patterson-Stevens Inc. of Tonawanda filed the lawsuit against the city in State Supreme Court in Chautauqua County. According to the lawsuit, Patterson-Stevens claimed it has suffered monetary damages in the amount of at least $306,048 because the city allegedly breached the contract by delaying the start of the project, issued an improper stop work order, interfered with the contractor’s performance of the contract, improperly withheld payments or failed to pay or rejected invoices as required by the contract and improperly delayed completion of the project well beyond the scheduled June 30, 2018, completion date. Patterson-Stevens asked the court to order the release of the $306,048 payment, but also pay any interest, attorney fees, costs and disbursements, along with any further relief as the court deems necessary and proper.
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