Tattoo parlor restrictions in Old Town Elk Grove to be lifted

District 2 Councilmember Pat Hume speaking in favor of tattoo parlors in Old Town Elk Grove. | 

After years of restrictive zoning laws, last night, the Elk Grove City Council decided to allow tattoo parlors in the city's Old Town special planning area.

The unanimous decision was made after hearing over a dozen people speak in favor of lifting the long-running ban in Elk Grove. Typical of the comments came from Matthew Higginson, who addressed what he characterized as long-held negative stereotypes of tattoo parlors and their clientele.

"A lot of the concerns seem to be outdated," Higginson said.

Following public comment, Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen opened deliberations noting she had met with tattoo artist John Laurent who is hoping to open an establishment in Old Town.  Laurent's work was mentioned throughout the public comment.

"This is not your typical tattoo artist," she said. "The work, the attention to detail is just quite remarkable. I've never seen anything like it, to be honest."

During his comments, District 2 City Councilmember Pat Hume, who represents the Old Town area, noted when the city council last considered allowing tattoo parlors there, he was on the losing side of a 3-2 vote. Hume said he supports a diversity of businesses in the special planning area, which has experienced an unimpressive record during the city's numerous attempts to jumpstart activity in Old Town. 

"We are on an amazing trajectory down there, you can just feel the energy - that place is just ready to break loose," Hume stated. 

Although the city council did not take a formal vote on the matter, they agreed to allow for tattoo parlors. The city staff will provide an ordinance that would amend the planning guidelines for the area and allow tattoo parlors to open on conditional use permits. 

No date was provided on when the change will be formalized. 

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