In a rare move, the Elgin City Council reversed its previous decision and approved a permit for a third tattoo parlor downtown, citing the threat of litigation.
Council members Terry Gavin, John Prigge and Carol Rauschenberger cast the only "no" votes in the 6-3 vote Wednesday night to approve a conditional use permit for Big Head Tattoos at 210 DuPage St.
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City council members had narrowly turned down the tattoo parlor in a 5-4 vote in October. At that time, Mayor David Kaptain and Councilman Rich Dunne voted "no."
Kaptain said attorney Scott Richmond, who represents Big Head owner Marco Muniz of Streamwood, had threatened litigation against the city because the city council in September approved a permit for another downtown tattoo parlor, Funky Monkey.
Elgin's first downtown tattoo parlor, Topnotch Tattoos, opened in 1999.
Council members said they OK'd Funky Monkey because it includes an art gallery and therefore fit within Elgin's vision for downtown as a cultural and arts hub.
But Muniz's petition -- just like Funky Monkey -- met all permit requirements, so Corporation Counsel William Cogley advised council members that a denial would have been grounds for litigation, Kaptain said.
Richmond's partner, attorney Karrsten Goettel, directed all questions about litigation to Richmond, who was unavailable Wednesday night.
"It was a long road and we're happy to be here," Goettel said.
Muniz declined to comment about litigation as well.
He said he was pleased with the council's reversal.
"I just look forward to being in the Elgin community," he said.
Prigge said he doesn't want three tattoo parlors downtown.
"It's nothing against (Big Head). I wouldn't want three of anything, three veterinarians, in close proximity in an area that is not zoned for it."
Gavin said that once he votes no, he doesn't "flip-flop."
The final ordinance approved on Wednesday contained additional provisions, Kaptain said.
For example, it states Muniz will be doing exterior property cleanup and not use the second floor for business until the pull-down staircase is converted into a regular staircase, as per city code, Kaptain said.