The Abilene City Council approved an amendment to the Land Development Code that would allow an existing central business district barbershop to add tattoo parlor.
Current regulations allow tattoo in general commercial, light industrial and heavy commercial zoning. They also are permitted by conditional use permits in neighborhood retail and in general retail zoning.
The amendment allows a business in the central business district downtown, according to materials provided to the council, a location that is considered appealing for services such as barber shops or hair salons.
Conditional use permits require City Council approval as well and must have an approved site plan, which adds an extra layer of protection.
The proposed amendment had been approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Tattoo artist Chris Winn, who plans to open the shop in Jake Miller’s existing barber shop, Barber’s Notch, in the Windsor Hotel on North 4th Street, was present at the meeting, but the council had no specific questions for him.
Councilman Weldon Hurt said he’d spoken to individuals with an interest in downtown, including Steve Dieterichs, executive director of the Abilene Downtown Initiative.
“Their thoughts were that this blends well with everything that’s going on downtown with the growth with the generation that’s really going to be taken over,” Hurt said. “So I have no issues with it.”
Councilwoman Donna Albus said she spoke to seven people, two who were an “absolute no,” one an “absolute yes” and the rest conditional, “based on what type or shop (or) parlor came in.”
“But overall, they seemed to be favorable,” she said.
City Manager Robert Hanna said the “whole point of the conditional use process” is that it gives “everybody an opportunity to see what’s going on here.”
“If conditions need to be placed on the hours of operation or what’s being done from a zoning standpoint on the uses that are allowed, it gives the opportunity for public discussion and dialogue that wouldn’t normally take place with a use-by-right,” Hanna said.
Operational hours, signage, and parking are among the items that could be looked at and conditions applied to make usage more compatible, while violations could be addressed through code enforcement, said Mike Warrix, director of planning and development services.
Abilene Realtor Paul Johnson was the only person besides Winn who spoke at the public hearing.
“I really don’t think it’s an artistic thing,” he said. “… I don’t see the value of tattooing people. I guess that’s why I just want to mention that.
“Other than that, it’s my personal opinion.”
Winn told the Reporter-News earlier in the week that if the council’s action was favorable, he planned to move quickly toward opening his business.