The Lake Geneva meeting agenda items requested by Alderperson Elizabeth Chappell and Alderman Richard Hedlund were listed as a “discussion/action item”, but they were really about updating the city’s prohibition on tattooing.
Technically applying tattoos is not banned in the city of Lake Geneva, however, with the exceptions of the two tattooing shops grandfathered in years ago, current law prevents any new place from opening or offering tattooing services. Any new tattooing facility would be restricted to high industrial zoning areas of which there are none in the City of Lake Geneva. In addition to being restricted to non-existing zoned areas, tattooing is further restricted from being within 1000 feet of any agriculturally zoned property and residentially zoned property; and not within a 1,000 feet from any school, church, or outdoor recreational facility, which means that there’s no place at all (physically) where a tattoo parlor would be permitted.
Alderperson Chappell feels that the ordinance is antiquated and needs to be updated to reflect the changing public attitude’s acceptance of tattoos. Her comment about “plucking” it (tattooing) out of the ordinance was met with humorous ridiculing response, but what she had to say is actually the only change that needs to be made to allow tattooing. The two ordinances that were referenced are
Sec. 98-206 (4) (b) Personal or Professional service, and Sec. 98-206 (4) (p) Sexually Orientated Land Uses. If tattooing had not been included with sexually orientated land use ordinance, then it would be permitted under Sec. 98-206 (4) (b) as a Personal or professional service.
Sec. 98-206 (4) (p) Sexually Orientated Land Uses prohibits sexually oriented materials and acts and then includes body piercing and tattooing along with that ban with the following hyphen statement “—including the provision of body piercing or tattooing services”. The simple removal (plucking out) of that statement would make tattooing permissible in zoned areas available to other personal or professional services.
Alderperson Sarah Hill said, “I have never had any tattoos and will never have one.” She went on to say that she appreciated Ms. Chappell’s bringing up the issue however. Alderperson Hill then proceeded to question Ms. Chappell’s motive for bring up the issue, going on about Chappell’s sense of ordinance priority and wasting council or city time on such an issue. In the discussion that followed Lake Geneva’s attorney, Dan “small ball” Draper, verified Ms. Chappell’s comments, repeating for the record that tattooing was only permitted in high industrial areas of which there are none in the city and explained that the two current tattooing parlors in the city of Lake Geneva were grandfathered in a long time ago. He then asked if Ms. Chappell wanted tattooing to be permitted or just to make an exception for cosmetic tattooing. Ms. Chappell’s response was fine with her, to which Sarah Hill later responded we don’t want to be like a Sturgis or the Dells, and have tattoo parlors all over town.
After the discussion, a motion was made and passed on a split vote to send the request to the planning commission to have the commission change the ordinance to permit cosmetic tattooing at salons. After the commission makes the change, a public hearing and an approval vote of the city council will be required before the ordinance change can go into effect. Alderperson Elizabeth Chappell said that this was a step in the right direction.
She went on to say, “getting a tattoo is a matter of one’s personal choice and the provider of such a service should not be discriminated against based on an antiquated ordinance or thinking. The city classifying tattooing under the sexually oriented land use is inappropriate in a society in which tattooing has become a common and an acceptable practice that no longer portrays the same connotations as it did decades ago. Laws of Society need to evolve and to expand in areas of personal freedom and personal responsibility rather than imposing restrictions on one’s personal freedoms for arbitrary reasons.”
The Geneva Shore Report wholeheartedly supports what Alderperson Chappell said. Unfortunately, GSR X-Files investigators were turned down flat when they attempted to make an appointment to see Chappell’s tattoos, none of which were apparent on any of her exposed visible skin.