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Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake City Council gives the OK to tattoo parlor

CRYSTAL LAKE – A local tattoo artist who wants to open a “high-end, premium” tattoo parlor got an enthusiastic green light from the City Council.

Council members voted, 6-0, to grant Taylor Kuhlman the special use permit needed to open Monster Ink Tattoo & Piercing in a strip mall at 1520 Carlemont Drive. Several area business owners had raised objections to the Planning and Zoning Commission over the matter – commission members last month recommended approval on a 6-0 vote.

But objectors, if they were present at Tuesday’s meeting, did not speak. Supporters of Kuhlman did attend, but the council, like the zoning commission before them, did not need much swaying.

Kuhlman, a lifelong city resident and 2005 graduate of Prairie Ridge High School, plans to have five tattoo stations and one piercing station in the 1,200-square-foot office. He has been a tattoo artist for the past 3 1/2 years at Area 51 Tattoo in the city’s downtown.

Three neighboring businesses – a dance supply retail store, an insurance agency and a logistics company – objected to the city, alleging that a tattoo parlor would not be a good fit for the area.

Kuhlman’s wife, Brenna, disagreed with the idea that the business would not fit in, telling council members that “times have changed” and that tattoos are now widely accepted as a part of our culture.

Council members agreed. Members Ellen Brady Mueller and Ralph Dawson said that tattoos are much more mainstream than they were in the past. Brady Mueller, citing Wisconsin Dells water parks, and Dawson, citing the beach at Three Oaks Recreation Area, said more people these days have tattoos than don’t.

Brady Mueller joked that even Dawson, 87, has one.

“If it’s OK for Ralph, it’s OK for everyone,” she said.

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