‘Ink’-ling of change
by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—The Elburn Committee of the Whole agreed to send a request for a downtown tattoo parlor to the Village Board for approval.
Village Administrator Erin Willrett said the petitioners were about to challenge the village’s present ordinance for tattoo parlors, which required a licensed physician only to perform body piercing. The ordinance was reviewed by Village Attorney Bob Britz, who revised it to reflect Illinois Department of Public Health Code and included references to all the new defini- tions and any new practices.
The business owner is a former police officer operating a parlor in St. Charles, whose only clients are police and fire department employees. The proposed establishment in Elburn would cater exclusively to veterans and municipal workers, Willrett said.
Trustee Bill Grabarek said he was surprised this type of business fell under B-1 Special Use permits, and expressed some concern about the village’s image.
“There can be two thoughts about this, hav- ing kind of like a Dodge City or Deadwood type of village,” Grabarek said, to which Trustee Ken Anderson said, “You thinking of Sturgis, or what?”
Anderson was referring to Sturgis, S.D., which attracts thousands of motorcyclists each year and is known for its bawdy image of bik- ers, bars and tattoo parlors.
Village President Dave Anderson said he was concerned about health issues and sanitation. “These are needles, they are being subcutaneously inserted, and I am very deeply con- cerned about the health aspect,” he said.
But he added that if IDPH rules and guide- lines are applied, “I guess that’s all we can do.” Those guidelines include a requirement that a physician must be on-call in case of a med- ical emergency.
The conversation then turned to whether or not a license was required by the state for tattoo artists.
“They require a license to cut hair, to do nails,” Ken Anderson said. “So do you have to go to school to get whatever license to be able to do this?”
The state of Illinois does require a license for tattoo artists and body piercers, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Testing is available twice a year and does not involve competency. Rather, it focuses on state health and safety requirements, which include knowledge of sanitation, safety and hygiene, as well as familiarity with the state’s tattoo laws.
Grabarek was the only no vote. Trustees Jerry Schmidt and Jeff Walter were not present at the Committee of the Whole meeting.
Grabarek said his only concern was having this type of establishment in the central busi- ness district and felt it would be more appropri- ate on North Street across from Knuckleheads, which is considered a biker bar.
“I’m not against tattoo parlors, but if somebody wants to come in and put an art gallery, or an upscale restaurant, are they going to want to move next to a tattoo parlor?” he asked.
He said his adult daughters have tattoos and that he doesn’t mind having a tattoo parlor in the community.
“I just don’t want to have them as the land- mark of the town,” he said.