The City Council will consider allowing the lice removal salon to locate on the 500 block of Main Street, if the owners of the business agree not to have any signs indicating what they do inside the store.
The council agreed to continue the item until the business owners and the city can agree on what exactly will be on the sign. The compromise was arrived at over the objections of one councilwoman and several speakers who fear a lice removal business will be detrimental to restaurants and clothing stores.
“I don’t think it belongs on that cute downtown Main Street that we’ve been working on so long and so hard,” said councilwoman Lara DeLaney. “It does have an ‘ick’ factor. It will stigmatize the downtown. It’s a stigma that you cannot get rid of. You can dim the lights and hide the sign, but people will know it. I’m shocked that our staff would approve it in the first place. I can’t believe the planning commission went ahead with this. I’m shocked that this council is leaning toward denying this appeal.”
But councilman Mark Ross said the business should be allowed to open, and people’s concerns about lice getting loose were unfair.
“the west end of Main has been a great success because there hasn’t been that many rules,” he said. “When Luigi was coming in with his 99 Cent Store, that was going to be the death of the downtown. People lined up to denounce this businessman, fearing winos were going to be spilling out. It’s worked out ok. I’m next door to a McDonald’s. I found a huge cockroach in my office. They, like all other restaurants, have to have an extermination contract to control pests and rodents. It’s a business, it’s America, they have the right to come to a city and invest their time and money in their dreams. I think the discretion in their signage would be acceptable. If they have a lot of traffic, here’s what’s going to happen: people will discover this block.”
He added that if a customer in another store got a louse on them from the new business, “I will personally give them $500.”
“Lice aren’t leprosy,” said councilman Mike Menesini. “But I think a sign saying ‘get your lice removed here’ is inappropriate for the area. I think it would hurt business. If we’re going to allow this business to be where they propose, we owe it to the folks there already to say we are going to protect you by limiting the signage.”
The owners of the business will meet with city staff to negotiate the language of the sign and the issue will return to the council at a later meeting.