Two tattoo parlors planned in Elgin, one meets opposition
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Three Elgin business owners, displeased with one of two tattoo parlors proposed for downtown, said they plan to voice their concerns to the city council.
They also said they hope to rally other business owners to speak out against one of the new businesses.
The Elgin City Council Wednesday gave the preliminary approval for Big Head Tattoos at 210 DuPage St. and Funky Monkey at 73 S. Grove Ave.
Funky Monkey's petition was approved 8-1, and Big Head Tattoos narrowly moved forward with a 5-4 vote.
The difference, council members said, was Funky Monkey would be a tattoo parlor and an art gallery.
"(Funky Monkey) provides public space and an open art gallery for the benefit of community," said Mayor David Kaptain, who voted against Big Head along with council members Carol Rauschenberger, Terry Gavin and John Prigge.
"I think we need to broaden the type of business we attract," Rauschenberger said.
Prigge, who also voted against Funky Monkey, said he was concerned about oversaturation. Elgin's downtown already has Topnotch Tattoos at 216 E. Chicago St. "Would we put in three veterinarians downtown? Would we put three of anything so close?" Prigge asked.
Councilman Toby Shaw and others said the market, not the city, should pick winners and losers.
"I struggle to say 'yes' and 'no' to a business when it's valid and legal," Shaw said.
Big Head owner Marco Muniz of Streamwood did not return requests for comment.
The planning and zoning commission recommended both petitions for approval. The city council will have to vote on ordinances to that effect before both businesses can open.
Karen Jones, of Kirkpatrick, Jones and Herzog Insurance Agency, and Barbara Maring, of Keystone Realty Inc., attended Wednesday's meeting but didn't speak. Both said they plan to speak against Big Head when the council next addresses the issue.
"I'm sorry I didn't speak," Jones said. "It's disappointing when you have the kind of investment that has been put in the downtown area, through the TIF District and the streetscape and Elgin Artspace (Lofts). I just think it's important everybody does their due diligence to maintain the vision (for downtown) that was adopted by city."
Jones is board president for the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin, but said she's not speaking on behalf of DNA. She said she will try to persuade other business owners to speak to the council.
Maring said it's all about what's best for Elgin.
"If we want to be a wonderful city, we have to strive to do what's in the comprehensive plan (for downtown)," which strives to make Elgin a destination for arts and entertainment, Maring said.
Topnotch owner Luke Clifford, who spoke at the council meeting Wednesday, said he's OK with Funky Monkey because it's also an art gallery, but opposes Big Head. He said he's cognizant of new competition, but is also concerned about the quality of new tattoo parlors because state health department regulations are still too lax.
"I have a vested interest in Elgin," said Clifford, who also lives downtown. "I think some restraint and control about how may and where (tattoo parlors) go would be a good thing."
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