The Maplewood Plan and Zoning Commission on Monday voted to recommend to the city council that the owners of All Star tattoo studio be permitted to move their business from its current location in University City to 2801- 2803 S. Big Bend Boulevard.
Most members of the commission, and two neighbors that spoke in the hearing, were mostly concerned with parking. One owner said there could be 10 – 12 cars parked there at any one time.
Owners Nate Strautkalns and Alan Thompson said they plan to buy all three parcels and use the now empty lot to the north for a parking lot, which can accommodate 14 spaces, City Public Works Director Anthony Traxler said.
Neighbor Susan Johnson said she wasn’t opposed to a tattoo studio but still wished it was opening on Manchester Road, though she said she preferred this to a Jack in a Box at that location. She said she lives one door down, and parking for businesses there in the past have been a problem. Cars have parked on the curb, making it hard to turn onto Big Bend.
Commission member Pickett Lema, the only dissenting vote, said she’s not a fan of the tattoo studio, mainly because it would sit a block and a half from the high school. She pointed out that kids as young as 12, at the middle school, will be walking right by the shop. She said her kids have tattoos but they got them while in college, not high school.
“They’re very popular now. Times change, I realize that,” Lema said. “But when other people go, what stays are the pawn shops and tattoo parlors — word of warning.”
Owner, Thompson, said the state has strict regulations about the minimum age for tattoos. “In general, we leave it to the discretion of each artist. I personally don’t tattoo anybody under 18. I haven’t in over probably 10 years,” he said.
“It’s strict. We keep a tight paper trail as far as the consent of the parents, documenting with proper identification. The state has what they allow, and in addition to that, we just say no sometimes,” he said. “This is our career, so it kind of shines on us — most of us just pass on that business.”
Maplewood City Council will consider the commissions recommendation at its next meeting, on June 12.