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Granite Quarry board finally approves tattoo shop

GRANITE QUARRY — It took about six months of going back and forth between the Planning Board and Board of Aldermen, but Granite Quarry will soon have a tattoo studio.
By a 3-0 vote Monday night, Granite Quarry aldermen approved a text amendment to the town’s Unified Development Ordinance. The amendment will add body-piercing and tattoo studios as permitted business uses in Granite Quarry.
They were not listed in the table of uses before.
For several months, Logan Pope has been wanting to open Inkee, a tattoo studio, at 115 N. Salisbury Ave. But he experienced difficulty in getting a final answer from the two boards.
The Planning Board most recently sent Pope’s request back to the town board without a recommendation to approve or reject the text amendment.
In comments during a public hearing Monday night, Pope said Granite Quarry was one of the few communities in the area to not have a tattoo shop or never have one. He counted 19 other existing shops in the general region around Granite Quarry.
Pope noted how there are more than 21,000 tattoo establishments in the country and a large percentage of Americans with at least one tattoo.
“This is simply missed revenue for the town,” Pope added.
His tattoo shop would have to be inspected by the Department of Health, and it would not allow people under 18 to get a tattoo. He said his shop would be family-friendly and would work hard to change the stigma of tattoo parlors in the past.
“This business has been my dream,” Pope told aldermen. “I leave my dream in your hands.”
Michael Reavis of the Country Christian Bookstore spoke in support of Pope’s request. He noted that as a graphic artist, Pope also could help the town in producing banners, posters and T-shirts.
“I’m all for it,” Reavis said. “I think you ought to give the guy a chance.”
No one spoke against the tattoo shop.
During the town board’s discussion, Alderman Mike Brinkley told Pope, “We have to consider what’s the best use for the land, and you’re not going to live forever.”
But Brinkley favored Pope’s request, adding, “I think it should be approved as presented.”
The board OK’d the text amendment quickly.
In other business Monday night, Brinkley made a motion to rescind board action from last year that said the mayor should be elected by Granite Quarry voters every two years.
At present, aldermen choose a mayor among themselves after every two-year election.
Brinkley said he saw no reason to change and expressed concern there had not been enough study of the ramifications. With the board’s staggered, four-year terms for aldermen, Brinkley said, the board could end up having to appoint an aldermen for two years if a sitting alderman ran for mayor and won and still had two years left on his term.
But Brinkley’s motion died for a lack of a second. Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers asked that the discussion be tabled until next month.
Following up on a discussion they had at their February retreat, aldermen voted 3-0 to quit having their last-Thursday-of-the-month work sessions.
Alderman Arin Wilhelm said he would like to replace those meetings with quarterly sessions that would be more like open houses or town hall gatherings in which aldermen could engage with residents.
The quarterly meetings also could be a chance for the board to brainstorm and evaluate how it is coming along on goals, Wilhelm said.
Brinkley said he liked Wilhelm’s idea but said the format for such meetings would have to be developed. Wilhelm offered to come back to April’s meeting with a format.
In other business:
• Aldermen approved by a 2-1 vote the financing of a new fire truck through BB&T. Aldermen went with a seven-year loan at 1.94 percent, instead of a 10-year loan at 2.47 percent.
Wilhelm wanted to go the 10-year route, suggesting that the lower monthly payments might help the town address some of its other annual goals over that time period.
But Brinkley and LaFevers favored saving about $15,000 by going with the seven-year term.
• Town Administrator Dan Peters updated the board on grading improvements to the Bank Street railroad crossing and the planned closing of the Lyerly Street crossing. The project will be let out to contracts May 20, with a completion date set for Oct. 1.
Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern will not be completing the installation of new signals at Granite Quarry’s four crossings until Sept. 1, 2015, Peters reported.
• Aldermen approved the rezoning of a vacant parcel just north of Court One on South Salisbury Avenue. The zoning will change from central business and multi-family to central business and highway business.
• Aldermen approved moving forward with a golf cart ordinance, spelling out rules for electric golf cart travel on town streets.
• Aldermen approved a Red Cross Blood Drive at the Town Hall for June 8, a Sunday.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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