Kent State University art student Jason Miller got the OK from the Kent Planning Commission Tuesday to open a tattoo and piercing parlor in Kent.
The commission approved Miller's plans to open up a by-appoint tattoo parlor at 707 S. Water St. despite objections from neighbors over parking and hours of operation concerns.
Miller said both he and his landlord, PJ Agarwal, planned to comply with every requirement and request set forth by the city and just wanted the opportunity to "raise the standard" of tattoo parlors in Kent.
"Unfortunately we are in a business that has a stigma," Miller, a Ravenna resident, said.
Miller originally proposed plans in December for the parlor that included space for an art gallery. The gallery required more parking spaces at the site than could be easily provided. Miller said they dropped the gallery from the proposed space.
Kent planning engineer Jennifer Barone said city officials calculated that by dropping the gallery the business only needed three parking spaces.
"There’s room to put two spaces in the front and one on the side with no problem at all," she said.
Susan Morris, who owns the house at 108 E. Hall St., said she was worried about the parking situation but also objected to the idea of adding a tattoo parlor when Kent already has several.
"I honestly think we do not want another one," Morris said.
Kent Planning Commission member John Gargan asked Miller whether or not he thought there was enough of a demand for another tattoo parlor in Kent.
"I feel there is a need because there’s a strong clientele of mine just in the area and surrounding area," Miller said. "They are my clients, not just random people who want to get tatttoed by anybody. These people are very loyal … and if my location isn’t central or convenient that may cost me my clients."
He added that many of his clients are what's referred to in the tattoo business as "serious collectors" who have multiple, large pieces done that can take several years to finish.
Miller also agreed to limit the hours of operation to 9 p.m. at night from the originally proposed 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.
The commission approved the project with several conditions, including limiting the shop to one tattoo artist operating at any given time. The project was approved unanimously.
"My personal feeling is that you meet all the zoning code requirements," commission chairman Anthony Catalano told Miller.