A tattoo parlor located at 401 Foote Ave. will continue operating until further notice.
Maria Gullotti approached the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday to fight for a tattoo parlor currently located in a building she owns with her husband, Carl.
The tattoo parlor, which is operated by Gullotti's tenants, Robert and Sarah Mills, has been in business since August. The Millses currently also rent an apartment above the parlor.
Robert Mills, right, discuss his petition for a tattoo parlor, located at 401 Foote Ave., during a recent Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
The home and business are located in a part of the city that is zoned for both commercial and residential use. However, according to zoning laws, a tattoo parlor is first allowed in a district zoned for commercial and manufacturing use, and is not permitted in a residential neighborhood.
When Gullotti and her husband bought the building, Gullotti said their intent was to put an apartment above a beauty salon. But, due to financial reasons, they were unable to do so.
"Things came up and I just couldn't (open a salon). (Robert Mills) spoke about opening a tattoo shop, and I didn't think there would be an issue with it," Gullotti said.
Gullotti applied for a use variance to allow the tattoo parlor to continue operating in its current location. Additionally, she applied for an area variance, which would allow her to expand the driveway, making it accessible to two cars.
In order for the variance to be granted, a petitioner must meet four conditions.
"We have to follow these particular four tenets that say for a use variance, you have to meet these requirements," said Ellen Ditonto, chairperson of the board.
The board discussed with Gullotti and the Millses about whether the hardship was self-created, and determined that no other businesses were considered for the space once it was known a salon would not be put in. Additionally, they discussed the character of the neighborhood, reasonable return on the property and intent of the building.
"When I bought the property from the previous owner, he told me it was commercially zoned," Gullotti said. "Knowing all the other business in that area, I felt that there was no reason for me to call (for a variance)."
Robert Mills spoke about the business he and his wife are running. The two of them are the only artists working out of the space. The parlor is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. through 11 p.m. Robert Mills said the shop typically serves five to six people per day.
"This is not a busy shop," Robert Mills said. "We just want to have our own shop where people are comfortable bringing their kids... We just want a place where it's drug-free, family-oriented."
After discussion, the board chose to table the petition. Gullotti was instructed to bring in financial records, proving the hardship not having a tattoo parlor in the building would cause. Additionally, she will have the opportunity to provide letters of support at the next meeting.
In the meantime, the tattoo parlor will be able to continue operating until a verdict is reached.