A tattoo artist looking to set up shop on South Water Street in Kent has agreed to limit his hours of operations after hearing concerns from some of his future neighbors.
Kent Planning Commission unanimously approved the site plan Tuesday for Art and Heart Gallery, which will be located in the former optometrist's office at 707 S. Water St., with the condition that the business close no later than 9 p.m.
Jason Miller, of Ravenna, originally planned to operate his business from 3 p.m. to midnight. He said many of his clients did not work conventional hours and preferred late night tattoo appointments.
Nicole Robinson, who lives near the proposed tattoo parlor on Hall Street, said she had concerns about the traffic the business could bring to the area, as well as the hours.
"Midnight seems a little long for hours," Robinson said.
After discussing the situation with Kent's planning commissioners, Miller said he would only keep the location open until 9 p.m. out of respect for his neighbors.
He said tattoo shops are often stigmatized, but he promised his business and clients would treat the neighborhood with respect.
"We try to set an example -- raise the standard a little bit," Miller said.
Originally Miller planned to also use the building as a gallery for local artists to display their work, but Kent's zoning code would have required six on-site parking spaces for that use. Miller said he would use the gallery space instead as storage or a break room, lowering the required on-site parking to three spaces.
Planning Commissioner Peter Paino said as long as Miller was the lone employee of the tattoo shop, he didn't think the business would have a negative impact on nearby residents.
"If it's just you and a client ... I don't see how that could bother the neighborhood," Paino said.
Planning Commissioner John Gargan asked Miller if there was a need for a fourth tattoo parlor in Kent.
Comparing tattoo artists to barbers and hairdressers, Miller said he has loyal clients from working at other tattoo parlors in the area who will follow him to his shop.
At the urging of the Planning Commission, Miller said he would also work with his landlord to improve the condition of the parking lot and add landscaping to the site.
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