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McHenry OKs first tattoo parlor

McHENRY – The city of McHenry will get its first tattoo parlor, the City Council decided Monday evening.

In a 5-2 vote, the council gave Jean Fontaine, 40, of McHenry, permission to open a tattoo parlor at 1210 N. Green St., even before he receives a variance.

The building will be divided, with the tattoo parlor in the back and, once remodeling is complete, a gallery and showroom in the front, Fontaine said.

His business currently is outside the city limits at 4412 S. Hi Point Road and he has wanted to move into the city for the past four years, he said.

Deputy City Administrator Doug Martin said he recommended the temporary permit approved Monday because a mix-up in the process for a variance was Martin’s fault.

Fontaine still will have to take the variance before the McHenry Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing and come back before the City Council if he wants to keep his business open past March 1.

When Alderman Jeff Schaefer, who voted against the temporary permission to open, asked about signage, Fontaine said he planned to focus any signs on the retail side of the business, keeping the tattoo side low key.

Alderman Andy Glab cast the other no vote.

“I just didn’t feel it was the right mix for the downtown area,” Glab said. “The approval was not conditioned upon the rest of the store. Ultimately, if he wanted, he could just have a tattoo parlor there. We don’t really collect much revenue there.”

The majority of Fontaine’s business comes from the retail side, which includes an art gallery and custom-designed furniture and clothing line, he said. The tattoo parlor makes up about 15 percent of his income, he said.

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