Commission approves new body art shop in Laguna

A body art shop, commonly called a tattoo parlor, will open in North Laguna at 412 N. Coast Hwy. as an appointment-only business.

Planning commissioners split 3 to 2 at the June 13 meeting, with the majority approving The Ink Spot.

The second-story shop, the third body art shop in Laguna, will include spaces for two body artists and an art gallery in front of them. It will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and possibly later if there are art community events.

Renee Bangeter, the applicant for The Ink Spot, will display her art as well as others in the gallery.

"I have been in the military and in banking, but I have always been an artist," said Bangeter, whose art also includes tattoos.

The shop was opposed by Sandra Woods, who owns the neighboring El Paseo building with her sister. The building has five tenants: two commercial and three residential.

"Does Laguna need another tattoo parlor?" Woods asked. "Is this the kind of art we want to encourage?"

Opposition to tattooing and body piercing is generational, said Commissioner Linda Dietrich, who voted in favor of the shop.

"I consider it art," Dietrich said.

Commissioners Anne Johnson and Rob Zur Schmiede voted against the application.

Johnson based her opposition on the location.

"I think the gallery is appropriate, but I don't believe (body art) is compatible with the zone, which is high-end galleries that abut residences for the most part," Johnson said.

She also expressed concern about the future of the shop's location.

"This applicant seems to be a nice woman, but the conditional use permit goes with the land and if she moves on or retires, we have no way of controlling who takes over the location as long as they meet the conditions of the use permit," Johnson said.

Zur Schmiede was uncomfortable with the loosely-worded term "appointment-only," which could mean in 10 minutes or tomorrow.

"I would like it to be tightened," he said.

Commissioner Norm Grossman said it means no hanging around, which is already an issue because of the bus stop in front of the building.

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