Six of seven City Council members said Thursday that they are likely to vote no on a request to locate a body piercing studio in west Mesa.
The council will decide Monday whether to grant a special use permit to Glen Bevell and Kelsey Yamashita, who want a studio at 310 N. Dobson Road. They operate Halo Precision Piercing in Phoenix. Shane Ocell, owner of Immaculate Tattoo in Mesa, will be a partner. He has agreed to move his body piercing service to the new location, city records show.
Some council members said they side with many residents who oppose having another body piercing shop in west Mesa. Eight tattoo and body piercing shops are located within five miles of the proposed site, according to city records.
At least two council members said they just don't like body piercing.
"Maybe I'm old fashioned, but pierced noses, tongues, foreheads and belly buttons really kind of bugs me," Councilman Mike Whalen said. "I just personally have an aversion to it."
Councilwoman Janie Thom said, "I find it kind of disgusting. It's a health hazard. There's a lot of opportunity for infection." Ear piercing is OK, she added.
Councilwoman Claudia Walters said west Mesa has an overabundance of payday loan facilities, pawn shops and tattoo parlors that do not promote a healthy business environment. Mayor Keno Hawker was vacationing and he and Bevell and Yamashita couldn't be reached for comment.
Bevell's and Yamashita's attorney, Mesa zoning lawyer Ralph Pew, said the city's Planning and Zoning Committee unanimously approved the plan in June.
"It's a legitimate business," Pew said. "Simply because somebody finds body piercing offensive doesn't mean it shouldn't be there."
Resident Mischel Whipple said the body piercing studio doesn't fit the image the area is trying to create. "I just don't feel like its going to be good for west Mesa," she said.