Pandora Ink just won't take no for an answer, especially if the no wasn't clear in the first place.
The tattoo company was back at the Justice Center for the third time in less than six months and it's second time in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Just like in August, Pandora Ink was seeking an amendment to a Planned Urban Development (PUD) to permit a tattoo establishment to be located at on the north side of Mexico Road, east side of Grand Teton Drive in the Dollar Tree Plaza. And, just like in August, the commission recommended approval of the amendment to the Board of Aldermen.
Now comes the hard part for Pandora Ink—gaining board approval. Last August the board voted down the proposed amendment change, despite only have two votes against it. St. Peters requires a majority of fives aldermen to approve a bill. With Ward 2 Aldermen Jerry Hollingsworth and former Ward 3 Aldermen Gus Elliott absent, the bill was voted down with four ayes, two nays, and two abstentions.
In August Judy Bateman (Ward 2) and Dave Thomas (Ward 1) were the no votes. Don Aytes (Ward 4), Patrick Barclay, (Ward 4), Rocky Reitmeyer (Ward 1) and Tommy Roberts (Ward 3) all voted in favor of the amendment.
The issue with the tattoo shop stems from the location. The proposed location of the shop is within 1,000 feet of several residential areas and at both planning and zoning meetings and the lone board meeting the dais has heard protests from residents of nearby neighborhoods.
The common refrain of the outspoken residents was that the clientele could drag down property values or would just be unsafe to have near kids. Thomas said the he served in the Marines with many of his fellow soldiers sporting tattoos, but he wouldn't feel comfortable having a tattoo establishment that close to homes with children.
Jonathan Broadhurst, Pandora's CEO, said the fears were based on an outdated image of a tattoo shop. He told the commission on Feb. 6 that Pandora Ink wouldn't be your father's tattoo shop. Broadhurst called the shop a "medical facility that specializes in skin pigmentation." He said the staff will all have a medical background and will treat things in an almost hospital-like way.
At the planning and zoning meeting, one resident said that the addition of tattoo shops, dollar stores and other business has left her questioning what's happening to St. Peters.
Hollingsworth, the aldermanic representative to the commission, took issue with that statement. He said he often hears complaints from residents about empty buildings. He said that he's not a fan of some of the businesses that have gone in the empty buildings, but he doesn't go there.
"It makes the community better," Hollingsworth said about the full buildings.
The board will decide the fate, again, of Pandora Ink at the Feb. 28 meeting.
*Update: The original version of this article had the incorrect date for the Board of Aldermen meeting. The board will meet Feb. 28.