While downtown Healdsburg is home to businesses ranging from wineries to bookstores to bike shops, notably absent are psychics, palm and card readers.
Based on the that absence may continue.
Mike Stevens, who owns palm and card reading businesses in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park amd St. Helena, was denied in his attempt to open a similar operation at 416 Healdsburg Ave., a site that formerly housed an insurance office.
The zoning for that location is CD(Downtown Commercial). According to the city Zoning Ordinance, palm readers, psychics, and similar uses are not listed as a permitted use in that area.
Stevens put down a non-refundable deposit for the location, only to be informed later that the use was not allowed. He appealed that decision to the Planning Commission last night.
Stevens argued that other cities have allowed his operation.
"Rohnert Park, considers me under professional services," he said. "My business would be excellent for tourists and locals."
He also commented that he has already been doing business in town, being hired by wineries or businesses for special occasions.
Commissioners were not receptive to the proposed use in the Downtown Commercial zone.
Commissioner Phil Luks and Commission Chair Jerry Eddinger both commented that while another zoning area might be more appropriate, that was a decision to be made by the Healdsburg City Council.
Commissioners voted unanimously to deny the appeal, suggesting that Stevens appeal their decision to the City Council, if he so desired.
Stevens expressed his displeasure with the decision.
"How is this decision not prejudiced?," he said. "I'm a citizen, I pay taxes; I'm not going to sit in the back of the bus."
He also observed that a local tattoo parlor is currently giving psychic readings in their location.
Eddinger took exception to Stevens' remarks.
"This use doesn't belong in the CD zone," he said. "There's nothing prejudiced about it."
Stevens inquired how the tattoo parlor was allowed to give readings.
"No one was aware of that," Eddinger said. "We didn't approve it, but now that you've revealed it to the world, I suspect someone will look into that."
After the meeting, Stevens expressed his disappointment about the ruling, but said he hadn't made a decision on whether or not to appeal to the City Council.
"I'll take some time to think about it," he said upon leaving.
Various city officials, past and present, could not remember a psychic, palm or card reading operation ever being located in town. This could be the first time this particular use had ever been discussed by the city, they said.