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Healdsburg planners reject ‘psychic palm and card reading’ business


Healdsburg doesn’t see a “psychic palm and card reading” business in its future.

The Planning Commission on a 6-0 vote Tuesday night rejected an application by self-described psychic Mike Stevens to set up shop in a former insurance office downtown, just 1½ blocks north of the Plaza.

“It’s perhaps antithetical to the basic image we’re trying to project as a tourist town,” Commissioner Phil Luks said.

The commission affirmed the decision by Planning and Building Director Barbara Nelson, who determined the psychic business is not allowed in the city’s downtown commercial district.

Stevens complained that the city is “prejudiced,” but vowed to appeal to the City Council to set up his storefront at 416 Healdsburg Ave.

“How can I not say it’s prejudiced, you allow every business in town except psychic,” he told commissioners after they voted.

“If you came in with an auto repair shop, we would tell you it doesn’t belong in the CD (commercial downtown) zone,” replied Planning Chairman Jerry Eddinger.

The land use table spells out a long list of commercial and residential uses allowed in the downtown business area, but a psychic business is not among them.

Restaurants, wine-tasting rooms and art galleries are all part of the makeup of the downtown commercial zone, which even allows temporary Christmas tree lots, gunsmith shops and mortuaries.

Stevens said that initially a city planner erroneously told him all he needed was a business license to open downtown, so he put down non-refundable rent money for the empty office, just south of B&B saloon and north of a real estate company.

Healdsburg potentially would permit such a business to exist under the category “personal services” in a mixed commercial and residential district, according to Planning Director Nelson.

Most cities in Sonoma County restrict businesses that bill themselves as psychics or palm and card readers, and require a staff review for a use permit.

In a letter to the city, Stevens said he has been in business for more than 35 years in Sonoma County, where he was born and raised. He has a location in Santa Rosa, on Sonoma Highway, as well as in St. Helena and Rohnert Park.

On Tuesday, he told the commission “I think it would be good for the tourist industry, as well as locals, to have someone in my line of business here.”

He said he already gives readings at wineries and corporate functions in Healdsburg.

Stevens said his business could be considered entertainment, therapy, or personal services, which include advisory and consulting services.

But Nelson said the permitted offices for psychologists, psychiatrists and even medical services allowed downtown involve licensed practitioners, which psychics and palm readers are not.

And she said advisory and consulting services typically involve some type of financial or employment counseling.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com.

10 Responses to “Healdsburg planners reject ‘psychic palm and card reading’ business”

  1. Anthony Angry says:

    Why can’t the Planning Commission be honest and call these con-artists what they are? It’s a scam, it’s fraud and frankly, stupid people need protection from this kind of unscrupulous and archaic lunacy. But they have to say it’s “perhaps antithetical to the basic image… blah,blah,blah.” In-politic platitudes instead of saying bluntly that it’s almost 2013 and this BS is not real, go away!

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  2. Frank says:

    it fits in with the Healdsburg Mantra
    i guess the batterys need charging on crystal ball.
    or did they all forget about why the tax increase

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. James Bennett says:

    I see an Agenda in which all commerce, land use, consumption, activity and business is controlled by the state.

    OK,OK, it’s not a vision.

    It’s U.N. Agenda 21 Sustainable Development.

    Public officials don’t need a vision. They have books and ICLEI sourced software and training.

    In fact ALL the planners have a big book that we paid millions to have U.N. approved minnions write. The purpose of the book was to implement the Agenda in all communities. It’s very detailed. That’s why small business and property rights are neutered.

    When the MARKET decides what is needed and wanted, we usually got it right…

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  4. Sue St. Claire says:

    When I read the headline, I thought the planners had rejected the Healdsburg city council. Psychic palm and card reading is their stock and trade.

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  5. Dan J Drummond says:

    The Healdsburg Planning Commission and City Council can tap into the afterlife with psychic medium John Edward, who over the last 20 years has helped thousands with his uncanny ability to predict future events and communicate with those who have died. He’s appearing Sunday 1/13/13 (Lucky 13) at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

    Psychics good for Healdsburg = thumbs_up
    Psychics bad for Healdsburg = thumbs_down

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  6. j galt says:

    Grapevines took the words out of my mouth! Must be psychic?

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 19

  7. Tommy says:

    Why doesn’t this business belong downtown with all the tourist ? They just missed out on a great revenue source for the city, what a bad decision by the planning department. Healdsburg better WAKE UP! Some of the most powerful people in the world seek advice from Psychic’s including the police departments.

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  8. Skippy says:

    Isn’t this religious discrimination? What would the planners say to a mosque at the same site? Is it easier to turn down a mystic than a mullah?

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  9. GAJ says:

    Now that there is just darned funny Grapevines!

    Good one.

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  10. Grapevines says:

    You’d have thought that a really good psychic would have been able to see this outcome wouldn’t you?

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 23

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