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Opponents Of Lice Removal Salon Win Appeal

The city failed to follow its own rules in permitting the business to operate on Main Street, according to an attorney for the appellates.

City officials admitted Wednesday that its own rules were not followed when a proposed lice removal salon was approved for the 500 block of Main Street.

A group of businesses opposed to the salon hired a law firm to investigate the city’s procedure in allowing the operation, and the resulting letter from that law firm resulted in the city council upholding the appeal.

That means the lice removal salon will be required to apply for a conditional use permit, and meanwhile the city will be adding such a use into its zoning code. The process should take at least 60 days, according to City Attorney Jeff Walter.

He told the council that over the past ten years, city staff has determined informally whether or not a particular business would fall within a certain zoning category. While that has been expedient, it does not follow the city’s own rules in how such determinations are supposed to be made, he said.

“I’m not too happy having our rules handed back to us in the bottom of the ninth,” said councilman Mark Ross, who was a proponent of the salon. “The applicants have gone so far down the track, only to be told that government is now changing the rules on them.”

“My concern is for the businesses that have been on Main Street for many years and have invested many thousands of dollars, and we’ve totally ignored their concerns,” said councilwoman Lara DeLaney. “I’m sorry for the investments they’ve made, but more sorry for investments that have already been made by the existing businesses. That’s where my interests lie.”

“I was concerned with the downtown business district when the medical marijuana clinic was proposed by you,” Ross shot back at DeLaney, at which point Mayor Rob Schroder asked for an end to “the grandstanding.”

Schroder said the entire process was a case study for city government. On the one hand, he said, there was the initial emotional response – his was “hell, no, not on Main Street” – and then the rights of the women who invested time and money into improving the space based on the city’s approval of the project, and finally having an outside attorney point out that the city had failed to follow its own rules in allowing the salon to operate in the proposed location.

The applicants will have to apply now for a conditional use permit while the city adds this particular use to its municipal code. The Planning Commission and City Council will have to approve the addition. 

diana May 04, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Well, it was a bad idea from the beginning. Everyone was strongly against it and the kept telling the city. No one listened. How does it make sense to try to promote our city when no one tries to put up cool establishments ( i.e coffee shops, clothing stores, theater.) Basically something normal, not a lice salon, a million bail bonds and sketchy bars.cannibus club= awesome. Lice salon= bad. Both should not be on main street though. That street should be reserved for future cool and awesome things. Maybe the city should hire younger people bc the thought process is super dated. I mean how many antique shops does it need? Lets save Martinez downtown!
diana May 04, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Nana Jane , the people of martinez are totally awesom and not narrow minded they just dont want a gross lice salon on main street. What is so hard to understand?pick another street. Not the street where people go to take walks and eat and chill w/ their friends.Martinez needs to focus on making the place cool, like downtown walnut creek and pleasant hill. Do you see lice salons on their main streets? Do we see sketchy bars? A million antique shops, and bail bonds? Umm nooo.So forget the lice salon and put the efforts into making the place great. I say theater!!! That should be step one, next we only need 3 or 4 antiques. After that tell the bar owners to spice up their bars to bring different clients besides bikers. After that take out 50% of the bail bonds so there are only two or three left.... I mean what is wrong w the city planning people?
Anneli Loeffler May 05, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I do not believe a lice removal service belongs on Main Street. Palo Alto, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Burlingame, Lafayette - none of the lice removal businesses in these cities is located downtown. Its a shame that the city allowed it to get this far. I wonder if Martinez can support such a specialized business. Too bad its not something everyone would want to visit. I will still visit my fav places downtown because they are my favorites. I support local business. But I doubt I would ever need their services. Now, if only they were opening a dog wash that could help me with fleas...say for instance if there was a dog park at the Marina, then people would be able to clean their dogs after playing, take them home, then come back and spend their money here, instead of Pleasant Hill or Walnut Creek.
Jed May 05, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Are lice that big of a problem that they need a salon? What kind of hair style would a louse want anyway? A buzz cut? That would be bees... lousey way to go. Seriously - how many people HAVE lice in the first place and that said, how many of those people walk right past any of us during the course of a day? What if they have the dreaded Mexican Jumping Lice?? I think this has a lot to do about nothing - just a few self-serving, narrow minded people not wanting somebody else's business "in their little world". If there is a NEED for a business it will survive, if there is not - that business will fail and go away. Self realizing.
Chris Kapsalis May 06, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Can I respectfully ask you Jed if you would have the same opinion if it were a legal adult bookstore, or marijuana dispensary, strip club? or pawnshop? Or bail bonds? Sometimes some people feel a certain type of business will hurt there's if it moves in next to them, also is not right for certain areas, like a liqueur store or cigarette shop next to a school say. Has nothing to do with narrow mind, in fact the opposite I believe. However you do make a good point. Probably a couple do walk past us, but with a lice salon dozens will for sure walk past us. But that is not the problem, it is image, and also them sitting in the chair ( in some peoples minds maybe) in a place they eat before them that may keep people away. Not narrow minded at all. And finally, I would suggest you see your doctor if you think you have lice, or your kids, it is highly contiguous and maybe you should keep them out of school until they are cured, but it is fine for them to show and go store to store with lice? I heard most people think they have lice but in fact do not anyway, a doctor can make that determination, and then point you in the right direction for proper treatment. These are unregulated, and we do not even know if they are experienced as of yet, until we make changes to the codes etc.

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