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Tattoo Artist Gets OK to Open Kent Shop

Original plans for incorporated art gallery nixed

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.

Teresa K. January 09, 2013 at 01:54 PM
hmmm. I'm with Ms. Morris: I think Kent has more than enough tat shops, BUT if someone wants to do business in Kent and meets all requirements they should at least have their chance. I think the hour limitation, limited parking spots, and only having one tattoo artist on schedule to work will go a long way in nixing any problem situation that could arise. Was anything ever addressed on how many people are permitted in the shop at once as I am sure there will LOTS of foot traffic and pedestrians wandering in. I dont know if this is allowed for Council to ask, but I wonder how many "clients" Mr. Miller has? How many serious tat collectors are there that make opening a new shop financially feasible? As he stated his clients need a central location and are repeat customers-- Does this mean he will be taking NO new customers? What happens the day that there are Five cars in the lot?
Chris (Kit) Myers January 09, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Don't hold your breath for anything to happen if there are five cars in the lot unless someone complains. I am reasonably sure that city officials will somehow manage to see nothing when they drive by, just as they somehow don't see flagrant violations of the housing code, or that the snow and ice does not get removed in a timely fashion from the sidewalks in front of city hall or the police station where they work. You might want to check out the sidewalks in front of your councilperson's house, too. Just for fun, of course. I mean, just because you make the rules doesn't mean you have to live by them, right?
Ms. Morris January 09, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Someone will complain if there are five cars or even if there are four and I plan on watching the foot traffic too. This is a residential neighborhood and this was not welcome.
Chris (Kit) Myers January 09, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Good for you, Ms. Morris. I will complain with you!
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 09, 2013 at 04:22 PM
"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." Loyal: adjective - giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution So they're loyal, just not THAT loyal?
P Lynn January 09, 2013 at 07:22 PM
this is a tattoo shop that is by appointment only, owned by a college student. look around at people 35 & younger. MANY folks have tattoos these days. not sure why tattoo shops still carry such a stigma. i do realize there are a LOT of shops in kent- but (as with many things) there is always room for a high quality product.
Sa;;y January 09, 2013 at 10:57 PM
"I honestly think we do not want another one," Morris said How come no one is complaining about Bar145.... do we really need another bar in downtown Kent? I don't see all these complaints there. Oh wait! That is a big business owner not some poor soul trying to eek out a living with the talents he has. Is this already a business area?
Peggy Bennett January 10, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Totally agree with Ms. Morris. Residential areas where people own their homes is not a place for business of any kind. They are not paying taxes for a house to live next door to any kind of business. Maybe they should look into a business district where they could draw more clientele.
i love doughnuts January 10, 2013 at 02:43 AM
would you all be complaining if it were a religious book store opening? would you worry about the influx of mini-vans tying up traffic?
Chris (Kit) Myers January 10, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Gee, as I recall, and someone correct me if I am wrong, back in the 1950's that corner was the location of Paulus' gas station. I don't remember what was there over the years since until an optometrist was there a few years ago. I believe it was called 20-20 Vision or something like that. I believe a big horse trailer used to be parked on the Water Street side of the building. I don't recall what came after that since when driving there my attention has to be on my speedometer, but as far as I know, that location has never been a residence, at least since the 1950's. What was allowed there as far as parking is concerned when the optometrist was in there? Have requirements changed? I will stand with Ms. Morris regarding parking violations but I disagree with her regarding a small tattoo parlor being a problem neighbor.
Teresa K. January 10, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Sa;;y: We need more bars.... people get thirsty and need to stay hydrated. I think people might need a drink after getting a bit of ink done. Or is it get a drink and THEN go get the ink? I think one bar per one tat parlor should be standard for Kent. ; ) On a more serious note: my thinking is more like: 3 parking spots? 3? That kind of restricts this business.
Teresa K. January 10, 2013 at 03:13 AM
i love: There would still be a parking situation.
Chris (Kit) Myers January 10, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Teresa: Was there a parking "situation" there with previous occupants of the building, or is it that tattoos bring to mind packs of hells angels riding into town to smash windows, beat up storekeepers, and mess with fair maidens, as depicted by Hollywood, and people will find any reason they can to keep out the tattoo parlor?
Teresa K. January 10, 2013 at 02:19 PM
chris: my original concern was the parking situation and overflow for the neighbors. mr. millers new plans have taken care of that worry. i cant recall ANY situation there before with the vision place or the psychic. i dont know how many parking spots they were limited to. best of luck to him : )
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 10, 2013 at 03:20 PM
I'd be furious if a bunch of religious nutters were about to infiltrate my neighborhood. The tattoo parlor and religious bookstore would both be of no use to me. Darn atheists who value their skin. Your skin is your largest organ, don't ya know.
Resident of Kent January 10, 2013 at 10:14 PM
I hope his rates are cheaper than $80 an hour.. that seems to be the norm these days.. and crummy tat's. & attitudes. Decent location for a shop tho.
Dr. Anarchy Clown PHD January 11, 2013 at 12:22 AM
if you can't afford to pay for quality work, then don't get tattooed.
Resident of Kent January 11, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Dr. Anarchy Clown PhD.? Hardyharhar- you're hilarious !
Chris (Kit) Myers January 11, 2013 at 03:48 AM
A guy who calls himself Dr. Anarchy Clown PHD! A guy who wants to lynch a kid in Steubenville! Truly we live in the Age of Enlightenment...
h January 12, 2013 at 12:22 AM
My god, what a useless thread of complains! If my neighbor wants to do tats, and actually asks permission vs doing it on his own without health standards, i have no problem with it! (regardless of where I live) I wouldnt even care if he didnt have permission, so long as he was a quiet respectful neighbor. him asking tells me he is. if he proves to not be...then complain! dont anticipate the worst and try to put others through your own hell! i think i might be this guys first client! tattoo parlors are no longer any different than having a coffee shop, book store, clothing store, or other mom n pop brick n mortar anymore. i think there are a number of what look like crack houses along that street. maybe those should be worried about instead! show love and support, not fear, hatred and anger.

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