Brookfield village trustees on Sept. 12 directed the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider an amendment to the zoning code that would allow tattoo parlors in one or more of the village’s commercial districts after the owner of a tattoo parlor in Summit approached them about relocating to Ogden Avenue.
Right now, tattoos parlors are prohibited in Brookfield because the zoning code does not include the use in its code. While that’s not necessarily uncommon – the zoning codes in North Riverside, LaGrange, LaGrange Park, Western Springs and Westchester also prohibit them by omission – the village likely would not survive a challenge to the omission in court, said Village Planner Kate Portillo.
While the village might have looked to update its code eventually, it was provided motivation by a request from Rebecca Huston, owner of Heathen Ink in Summit, about amending the code to allow the use on Ogden Avenue.
“There’s a building on Ogden Avenue that we already have an interest in,” Huston told the Landmark in a phone interview last week. “It’s a really good size, the layout is good for us. … There’s good pass-through traffic, good parking and it’s close to entertainment opportunities.”
Huston said she hopes to buy the Ogden Avenue building instead of leasing, which Heathen Ink does in Summit.
During the village board’s committee of the whole meeting last week, Portillo recommended that the village amend its zoning code to allow tattoo parlors in the C-1 district which includes Ogden Avenue from Custer to Deyo.
“As a tattoo parlor is a business type that provides a service that may be sought out by patrons within the community and also the regional area, it’s staff’s opinion this type of use would be most appropriate in the C-1 General Service District,” Portillo told trustees.
While elected officials agreed to send the matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a recommendation on amending the zoning code, they also signaled support for allow tattoo parlors in other commercial districts in Brookfield.
Trustee Edward Cote, in particular, said the village ought to allow tattoo parlors in the downtown business district. Cote said he had a number of tattoos himself and that tattoo parlors shouldn’t be considered a fringe business to be shunned.
“Tattoo parlors are not what they were 30, 40 years ago,” said Cote, adding that the businesses and tattoo artists are heavily regulated by the state. “I think the area by the train station … is open for opportunity to actually have a tattoo parlor there. You could take the train, get your [tattoo] and get back on the train and leave again.”
Trustee Katie Kaluzny also expressed support for amending the code, comparing tattoo parlors to other personal service businesses, such as hair and nail salons.
“It seems like a use that we have all over town, as far as other personal care, and I would like to see it move forward and be considered in other zoning districts,” Kaluzny said.
Village President Michael Garvey also read a letter submitted in advance from Brookfield residents Adrian and Tiara Lynn Agresta, a software engineer and a graphic designer, respectively, supporting the zoning amendment and allowing the use downtown.
“In addition to bringing additional traffic to the area, it will add to the artistic, indie vibe that Brookfield has been nurturing with Galloping Ghost Arcade, Burger Antics and Little Owl Social Club,” they wrote. “We don’t need to compete with LaGrange; we need to attract a cooler, younger crowd and this is a great way to do that.”
The matter will be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting on Oct. 27. If the commission settles on a recommendation at that meeting, the matter will head back to the village board and a vote that would take place no later than Nov. 28.
Huston said she’s OK with that timeline.
“I’m on a pretty relaxed lease, so I’m not in a desperate rush,” she said. “Summit has treated me well, but this is a better location.”