Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dateline: Windsor

The citizens of the Town of Windsor have decided, through their elected officials, to ban certain kinds of businesses from the Town Green Village area of their new Old Downtown. If you've never been to Windsor's Town Green Village, just picture Main Street USA in Disneyland and you'll get the picture. And, ala The Magic Kingdom, smoke shops, tattoo parlors, fortune tellers, bail bondsmen, check cashing services and massage parlors will not be allowed. They will be confined to certain Community Commercial, Service Commercial, and Gateway Commercial Areas. (Which, by the way, include the Safeway Center half a mile down the street from the middle school, where the kids like to hang out on the benches behind the cigarette shop.)

The original proposal included tanning salons and spas, but Windsor has decided that those businesses are ok. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat quotes a local salon owner who claims 4000 customers a month and says she helps people feel good about themselves. I guess enough influential ladies felt good enough about themselves to get the places off the hit list.

But I wonder how many of those same well-tanned ladies have a little tattoo somewhere where only their husbands and paramours can see it? How many of their husbands might visit a tobacconist for their favorite cigars, or a massage parlor for, well, whatever? I wonder how many will need the services of a bail bondsman after their next DUI? And if they're fucking stupid enough to go to a fortune teller, then, um, ....

I understand that cities have to plan for various types of businesses in different locations. Warehousing and industrial use needs sufficient access for commercial vehicles. Retail centers need mass transit access and parking for customers. I think Windsor's arbitrary restrictions on businesses the council considers detrimental exceeds the jurisdiction of civic planners.

Welcome to Main Street U.S.A.

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