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Tarrytown Trustees Vote to Allow Tattoo Parlors

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Tattoo artist Chuk Hognell has a lot of planning to do now that Tarrytown trustees have amended the village code to allow tattoo parlors in the village.

Hognell said he felt “pretty good” after trustees voted 5-1 in favor of amending the code to allow tattoo parlors. He said now he has to find out what he needs to do next to get a tattoo shop open in the village.

“I'm sure there's more red tape” such as zoning, he said. Hognell said he'll “find out what my next move is and proceed.”

Hognell, an Irvington resident, alerted trustees to the village's prohibition of tattoo parlors after deciding he wanted to open one within the village. Trustees decided to look at amending the law because they felt the reasons for not allowing tattoo parlors were no longer valid.

The new law places several restrictions on where tattoo parlors will be allowed. No tattoo parlors will be permitted in the Main Street Historic District. Trustees loosened restrictions after their last public hearing and have allowed tattoo parlors on the ground floor of a building as long as tattooing or piercing is not visible from the window.

Trustee Robert Hoyt was the only board member to vote against allowing tattoo parlors in the village. Trustee Rebecca McGovern was not present at the meeting. Mayor Drew Fixell voted for the amendment, saying that although he's personally against tattoos, there was no longer a legitimate reason to exclude parlors from operating in the village.

Monday's vote ended a weeks-long debate on the issue between supporters and opponents of tattoo parlors. Supporters and opponents of the measure engaged in a last-minute debate at Monday's meeting to try to sway trustees to their side.

Opponents of the measure argued that a tattoo shop would hurt the village's historical image. They also questioned how a tattoo parlor would affect children.

Lori Semeraro questioned whether tattoo parlors would stop people from moving to Tarrytown. Semeraro noted that many successful, affluent people who might buy houses in the new developments on the Hudson River are not the sort of people who want to live near a tattoo parlor.

John Garibaldi said he personally didn't think it was the right type of business for Tarrytown. Garibaldi also said he was concerned about the impact of a tattoo parlor on his kids and their friends, saying it would send the wrong message.

“I firmly believe it does not belong in the Village of Tarrytown,” he said.

Martin Hauser, a Tarrytown resident and pastor at Grace & St. Paul's Church in New York City, told trustees he hadn't heard anything that convinced him that tattoo parlors shouldn't be allowed. Hauser knows a lot of people with tattoos, he said, and he does not consider them undesirable people.

“I can't see any reason not to have a tattoo parlor,” he said.

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