Langley City council has given preliminary approval to new rules that would restrict vape shops, tattoo parlours and spas from setting up shop within 400 metres of each other.
It comes in response to a March complaint by the Downtown Langley Business Association (DLBA) asking for limits to be imposed.
In the letter, DLBA chair Carole Ward estimated there are currently 14 tattoo shops and 39 spas, including hair removal, waxing, nail salons and massage parlours, operating in the downtown area.
“We are making this request simply due to the high concentration of these businesses in our community, not because we are opposed to them,” Ward wrote.
“We recognize that there is a place for tattoo shops and spas in every community, but like everything else, if there are too many, this is cause for concern with respect to public perception,” the letter added.
“As we all know, a healthy business community thrives when there is a variety and balance of retail, food and service businesses.”
Because most vape stores have “opaque window glazing due to senior government health regulations,” an increased concentration of vape stores “may negatively impact the Downtown’s pedestrian friendly environment” Johannsen said.
There are currently two such stores in commercially-zoned spaces, City staff estimate.
“The intent of this bylaw is to foster business variety in the downtown core,” Johannsen said, by creating “a more dispersed pattern of personal services and other uses over time.”
Johannsen stressed the restrictions will not affect existing businesses and may even provide an “additional measure of stability” to current operators.
Given that these businesses were in existence prior to bylaw adoption, Johannsen explained, they would still be lawful and can continue to operate as “legal non-conforming uses.”
Council unanimously endorsed the proposal, giving it preliminary approval at their Monday, June 29, meeting.
Following a public hearing on July 20, the measures are expected to return to council for a final vote on July 27.
The new regulations are considered an “interim measure” while the City continues a comprehensive review of zoning regulations “to get them up to date,” Coun. Paul Albrecht noted.
It is similar to the 400 metre separation imposed on thrift stores that took effect Jan. 1, 2017, also in response to DLBA concerns about a concentration of one kind of business.
At the time, there were 18 thrift stores operating in the City, along with many charity donation drop boxes.