Babylon drops plan to regulate psychics

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Babylon Village trustees have dropped -- at least for the time being -- a controversial proposal to regulate professional psychics.

Language that would have set stiff licensing requirements for fortune tellers and confined their businesses to industrial areas along Route 109 and John Street was deleted from a law trustees approved Tuesday night that puts similar restrictions on tattoo and piercing parlors.

"This was based upon investigation, input from the public and analysis of the facts," said village attorney Joel Sikowitz. Mayor Ralph Scordino noted, though, that "in the future we might make changes on that."

Trustees began discussion of the legislation last summer, with Scordino citing a need to protect residents from the possibility of fraud at the hands of largely unregulated psychics and health concerns associated with so-called body art businesses.

Portions of the law concerning body art businesses drew little comment. But some self-identified psychics criticized the legislation as discriminatory.

The village has at least one professional psychic, known as James the Astrologer, who runs a shop on East Main Street, and no body art businesses.

Trustees also announced tax grievance settlements with Astoria Federal and Chase banks. The village settled with Astoria Federal for $7,000 and Chase for $5,200, after the banks argued their 2008-11 tax bills were based on inflated assessments.

Scordino, responding to a village resident's question on the payments, said, "We never recoup that money. That's coming out of your pocket, my pocket."

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