The Elk Grove City Council on July 28 unanimously approved an amendment of the Old Town Special Planning Area (OTSPA) to allow tattoo and body piercing studios, upon their approval of a conditional-use permit.
The Old Town Special Planning Area regulates land uses in that area, and had previously prohibited such businesses from operating in this historic section of the city.
In 2009, the council designated those types of businesses as having a “restricted use,” based on an interpretation of the OTSPA. The amendment allows for two conditional-use permits for tattoo and piercing studios in Old Town.
With the council’s approval of this amendment, tattoo artist John Laurent, who attended Elk Grove High School, plans to open Old Town’s first tattoo shop in a business space above Bob’s Club at 9039 Elk Grove Blvd.
Laurent expressed his desire to join Old Town’s business community.
“I can’t wait to work with neighboring businesses to help Elk Grove, Old Town especially, and just work together to create an even better town and city,” he said.
Laurent also addressed concerns shared by some people regarding tattoo and piercing businesses.
“I know people are concerned about the health and safety of individuals, as well as minors,” he said. “My business will only run and operate with adults. I will not have piercings in my shop, but tattooing, most definitely, for all individuals over 18.”
Laurent mentioned that he intends to bring positive change and diversity to Old Town.
“I can bring that,” he said.
Prior to the council’s deliberation on this matter, Angela Perry, president of the Old Town Elk Grove Foundation, told the council that the foundation supports “conditional-use permits for this type of business” in Old Town.
City Council Member Pat Hume mentioned that he believes that Old Town is “turning a corner,” and that Laurent’s business adds to that progression.
“I really think that this (shop) brings in a different clientele that will support Old Town businesses, will stop in Bob’s (to) get a drink, will go over to Dust Bowl (brewery to) get something to eat, whatever it is. And I just think it’s about time.”
Vice Mayor Stephanie Nguyen recalled how Laurent referred to his shop as a dream for him and his brother, Sam, a tattoo artist who died in 2019 of sudden cardiac arrest related to epilepsy.
Nguyen followed that comment by moving the motion to approve of the amendment of the Old Town Special Planning Area to allow tattoo and piercing studios.
“Congratulations and I look forward to swinging by (Laurent’s tattoo business),” she said.
Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen summarized the amendment as an action that will “go a long way toward revitalizing our Old Town – also known as our historic district.”
“I, too, enthusiastically support this (amendment),” she said.