2017-08-10 / News

‘Body art facility’ met with opposition at Planning Commission

By Sam Tunningley

A public hearing on approving a special use application for a new “body art facility” took a tense turn at the Flushing Planning Commission meeting Monday as several locals voiced concerns over placing the new business in a residential area.

The motion for an application approval passed on a unanimous vote.

The building in question, 1323 E. Main St., is located in the B-1 Business District, an area surrounded by homeowners; many of whom took issue with the idea of a body art business sitting in such close proximity to their own backyards. Residents claimed it would ramp up already dense traffic, produce harmful waste, affect property value and could bring in clientele ill-suited for the area.

The Flushing Planning Commission has met to discuss the facility in open session a number of times prior to the public hearing alongside prospective owner Tiger-Messiah White, and amended the zoning code back in April to allow such businesses to exist in designated city districts.

White tried to placate the audience by assuring them he is a respectable 10-year citizen of the city and that much of the complaints had been addressed prior to the public hearing.

Mark Bailey, a resident living near the building, said the business does not satisfy B-1 requirements, which state the district is for “convenience shopping of persons residing in adjacent residential areas that permit only such uses as are necessary to satisfy those limited basic shopping or service needs which, by their very nature and size, are not related to the shopping pattern of the community or regional type of shopping center.”

“How many people in my neighborhood are going to walk in this tattoo parlor and use this facility?” said Bailey. “I can tell you how many, I live in the neighborhood, and it’s probably zero.”

Bailey said the board is not listening to the residents and following their own agenda. Similar to his neighbors, he did not take issue with the business itself; just its location.

Commissioner Greg Bois said the commission already has addressed issues regarding landscaping and parking, and they are “very much in tune” to the neighborhood and the people who live there. Audience members disagreed with Bois, contesting the board’s consideration for their safety and individual say in the matter.

Ron Johnson, another homeowner, said the board did not comment enough on the potential impact of a body art facility on the surrounding neighborhood.

“[The landscaping and lighting] were all moot points to me,” said Johnson. “They were focused on what they could do rather than what residents wanted.”

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