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Zoning Board Grants Special Permit For Houston Street Tattoo Studio, Variance For Church Street Covered Porch

Robert Cote’s request for a special use permit to move his tattoo studio into suite 4 at 201 Houston St. in Sulphur Springs was granted by the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals Tuesday evening. Approval was also given to a variance request which would allow a covered porch to be built at 804 Church Street.

Variance Request

Approval was given for variance to allow a covered porch to be constructed at 804 Church St.

John Bobb, property owner of 804 Church St., requested a variance of approximately 6 feet to encroached into the setback, which is 25 feet, in order to add a porch to the front side of the building. The home’s construction predates a lot of the zoning requirements, including the required setback distance, according to Sulphur Springs Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski.

“What the applicant is proposing would not further encroach the setback than the existing home. They’re just proposing putting a covered porch on, extending along the front of the house,” Niewiadomski noted

The city sent out notices to 18 property owners within 200 feet of 804 Church St. Seven letters were returned in favor of the porch and none were received in opposition of it, according to Niewiadomski.

The property address is 804 Church St., but actually has what the city considers two “fronts,” as it’s located at the corner of Church and Middle Streets, “facing” two streets. The porch would face the side street.

Niewiadomski recommended approving the request for a variance to the front yard setback to construct a covered porch on the property.

The Zoning Board granted John Bobb’s request for a setback variance, allowing the covered porch construction at 804 Church St.

Special Use Permit

Robert Cote was given approval for a special use permit without restrictions to operate a tattoo salon in Suite 4 at 201 Houston St.

The request for a special use permit for Suite 4 at 201 Houston St. was forwarded to the Zoning Board Tuesday by the Planning and Zoning Commission, who Monday agreed to recommend it for consideration, with restrictions. However, after discussion, the Zoning Board Tuesday, opted not to impose restrictions on the business.

Niewiadomski explained property is zoned light industrial. However, the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday night had expressed concern for the hours of operation, and had recommended that the same restrictions be imposed on the salon as another approved previously for another location.

Cote had agreed Monday to the conditions if that’s what was needed. Tuesday, when asked about the restrictions, Cote said he’d prefer they not be imposed, but would follow them if that’s what it takes to get his business going at the Houston Street location. He said he’s usually closed on Sunday and Monday, but does have the occasion pre-scheduled appointment on Sunday. Requiring him to be closed on Sunday and to close at 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday night, could impact his business.

He explained he is an award-winning tattoo artist who attends many conventions as well as doing business at his salon. Cotes said he is licensed in 16 states and charges $100 an hour. He sometimes has customers who fly in from other states or cities and drive to his business for a tattoo.

Preventing Sunday operations would exclude him from helping someone like the client who flew in from another state recently to see family in Texas on Saturday, drove to his business for a scheduled a tattooing on Sunday, then went home.

It was noted there are some hair salons that have been granted permission for cosmetic tattooing. Zoning Board member Jay Julian said he had a problem with restrictions if they do not apply to all, and questioned why there were exceptions for some for cosmetic but not other tattooing.

Board member Brad Burgin too said he is “not a big fan of restrictions to Mr. Cote” and the potential success of his business.

The Zoning Board, after hearing from Cote, property owner Ben Spraggins and city staff approved the special use permit, without restrictions.

Author: Faith Huffman

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