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Tarrytown Tangled Over Tattoo Parlors in 2011

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Tarrytown's tattoo parlor law will rear its head again in 2012 after the issue caused a major uproar between residents and divided the Board of Trustees in 2011.

Tattoo artist Chuk Hognell brought a law prohibiting tattoo shops to the village board when he wanted to open a parlor in Tarrytown.

After weeks of public debate among village officials, residents and members of the tattooing community, trustees decided to adopt the measure with a vote of 5 to 1 because they felt the prohibition's original health concerns were obsolete.

Trustee Robert Hoyt voted against the law. Trustee Becky McGovern also opposed the law, but was absent during the actual vote.

Several public hearings preceded the vote, with some residents calling for a continued prohibition on tattoo parlors because they felt it would hurt the village's historical character and charm or small-town ways.

“I just don't think this is the place... where it belongs,” Diane Tuohy said. “You have the power to change the face of Tarrytown. Please don't do it.”

Others felt the tattoo parlor ban was outdated and did not pose significant health or social effects. Coffee Labs Roasters owner Mike Love argued it was a legitimate business that would be economically beneficial.

“Everyone who owns a business or potentially is going to own business is going to generate sales tax from the business, is going to generate financial benefit for all the businesses. The more people who come to town, we all benefit,” Love said.

Trustees later amended the law to fix several errors regarding the noticing of the public hearings and the definition of a school. Some residents continued to protest the law .

After voting that a school would have students under the age of 18, trustees once again decided to amend the law to redefine the definition of a school because the shop that Hognell had leased for his tattoo parlor was within 500 feet of a beauty school that allowed students as young as 17.

Trustees argued the beauty school did not fit their intended definition of a school because students had to have a high school diploma, and were thus adults.

A public hearing on the issue will be held Jan. 3 at 8 p.m..

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