The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 6, 2012

Zoning board OKs new tattoo parlor

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — A tattoo business received an initial green light to open Thursday night from the Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission. The city council will act on the rezoning petition on Dec. 18.

Commission members recommended approving a rezoning petition requested by Theresa Van Camp.

She requested the zoning of the property at 1018 E. Main St. be changed from B2 Highway Business to B3 General Business zoning in order to establish a tattoo studio at that location.

Van Camp had hoped to open her business, In Your Skin Tattoos, by Dec. 1, but she learned a zoning change was needed for the site. She told the commission she’d called city hall for any licensing or other requirements about opening her business. She said she was told nothing was needed, during her first phone call.

She made a second call and she said she was then informed about zoning and building inspection requirements. Van Camp apologized to the commission about the miscommunication.

She’s also meeting county and state requirements.

Van Camp will be leasing a portion of the building owned by Howard Montgerard. Hours for the tattoo and piercing studio would be 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. She said she’s owned two other tattoo businesses in small towns outside of St. Louis.

Her husband, Jeff, was born and raised in Danville.

Van Camp said her business would appeal to clientele on the “other side of town” compared to the two other tattoo parlors on Vermilion Street.

She said she’s put “life savings into” the one-year lease and business.

Van Camp estimated they’ve spent about $6,000 on the business. Renovations to the building have included painting the walls and floors and putting in countertops, chairs and other equipment.

“I think it benefits Danville and it benefits us,” Jeff Van Camp said. “I like to see Danville thrive more than it is.”

Mike’s Tattoos representatives were present at the meeting.

Tamara Pothast, manager and wife of Mike, said she wasn’t against the tattoo parlor opening, but she feels it is going in a “poor location” which doesn’t have enough parking. Also, she added that with the economy, it’s hard now for the two tattoo parlors in the city to make it.

Danville Planning and Zoning Manager Chris Milliken said for the building size, the four parking spaces meet minimum city code requirements. There is one space for every 400 square feet, he said.

Theresa Van Camp added that she understands that the other tattoo parlors don’t want competition. But she said she will have different clientele and will “probably not get as many people.”

Milliken also told the commission that one neighbor on North Beard Street called to oppose the business because the neighbor didn’t think a tattoo parlor is a good business for the city’s east end.

Van Camp would open the studio as soon as possible, likely around the first of 2013, with commission and city council approval.

Commissioner Dennis Faith questioned city departments’ procedures with public questions about business openings. Milliken said “part of this is on the owner,” saying that any place needs an inspection. But Faith said there is some expectation too on receiving direction from city officials. He said miscommunication and delays are not pleasant for either party.

In other business, the commission recommended changes to Chapter 150 of the city code known as the Danville Zoning Ordinance.

The amendments are for major variances of the ordinance and to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the ordinance.

The proposed changes stem from concerns voiced by Ward 7 Alderman Bill Black and others about the make-up of the zoning board and a decision made by the board of three city employees about a height variation for a cell phone tower near Provena United Samaritans Medical Center.

The recommended changes include changing the zoning board of appeals to a five-member board, with two persons from the zoning commission and three other city residents. The three other city residents cannot be city employees.

Danville Public Development Director John Heckler said there often is difficulty in finding citizens and those who can attend monthly meetings to serve on city boards.

Also, the zoning board of appeal’s recommendations on major variances would be conditional for a 15-day period. An alderman or the applicant for the zoning ordinance variance could appeal the decision and the recommendation could then go before the city council.