The second time was the charm for Pandora Ink.
After a contentious round of public comments with those in favor and those opposed trying sway the board, the St. Peters Board of Aldermen approved the tattoo establishment with a 5-3 vote. The board voted to amend a P.E.U. Development Agreement to allow the shop to open its doors in the Dollar Tree Plaza near Grand Teton and Mexico Road.
Thursday's vote comes just six months after Pandora Ink was denied a chance to to open a shop at the same location. At the Aug. 23, 2012, the amendment failed to get the five votes needed for approval.
In August Judy Bateman (Ward 2) and Dave Thomas (Ward 1) voted against the amdenment while Don Aytes (Ward 4), Patrick Barclay, (Ward 4), Rocky Reitmeyer (Ward 1) and Tommy Roberts (Ward 3) voted in favor of the amendment. Gus Elliott (Ward 3) and Jerry Hollingsworth (Ward 2) were absent from the meeting.
A full house on Thursday made the difference in favor of Pandora. Even after Aytes switched his vote from yes to no, Hollingsworth and Terri Violet (Elliott's replacement), voted in favor of parlor.
"I'm very pleased," Pandora Ink CEO Jonathan Broadhurst said. "I feel that our work and our efforts have been validated. I think the reflections of the people of the St. Peters were reflected in the votes of the aldermen."
Broadhurst opened the discussion about the proposed amendment change with a different presentation. The first three times he's gone in front of a panel at the St. Peters Justice Center he's presented a detailed plan for the business. On Thursday night he changed things up.
"I felt like it had gotten away from the fact and become a character debate," Broadhurst said. "I didn't want to enter into a character debate, I had no intention of entering into a character debate, but if poke a stick at a snake enough it will strike back."
Instead of talking about the medically-based plan for the parlor, Broadhurst instead took on his critics. He said after August's decision was made without a full board, he considered filing a lawsuit against the city to re-open the case. Instead he said he chose to re-file and try and convince his critics the shop wouldn't harm the area.
Broadhurst did emphasize that he wasn't intent on running an old-school tattoo shop. He said that the shop was inspected by the state and he was told it was the nicest shop that the inspector had ever seen. The shop was so nice, in fact, the inspector entered into an agreement with Broadhurst to let the building be used as a training facility for newly hired inspectors so they know what shops are supposed to look like.
He said he had the support of all the tenets in the plaza and had a petition of more than 500 signatures supporting the business.
When Broadhurst was done, the public got it's chance to speak. Susan Musler, once again, went before the board to encourage them to vote no.
"We're asking that you don't hurt our neighborhoods," she said.
Musler again said the city should consider banning tattoos. If that couldn't be done she said, the city should vote down Pandora based on the proximity to another established on Spencer Road. She said the city doesn't need two shops withing a mile of each other.
Adam Glosier, a realtor in St. Charles that represents the center, said he looked into residents claims that property value would go down with the opening of the shop. He said he checked with several appraisers and all reported to him that a vacancy would do more damage to property value than a tattoo shop.
Other residents spoke out against, and in favor of the shop with most making the same arguments made in August. In the end, it was time to vote.
After Aytes switched his vote, Broadhurst said he was worried he may be headed for a tie. Instead Hollingsworth and Violet supported the amendment and Pandora Ink can get ready to open.
Broadhurst said all the paperwork he needs to open the doors has been filled out and ready to go and was just awaiting a decision from the board. He said if everything gets filed in time, he hopes to open the shop as soon as possible—maybe as soon as this weekend.