Petition signed by 447 residents over four-day period details many reasons why selectmen should vote “yes”
Precinct 2 Town Meeting Member Joe Vecchione said he couldn’t find any reason why selectmen should deny the request by Antonio Moura De Jesus for a Special Permit (S-2) for him to run a tattoo parlor in a vacant building at 28 Hamilton St. He noted there was no public opposition to the request and “people didn’t find this proposal controversial.”
“My mother called me and asked if I could write a petition for this one,” Vecchione told the Board of Selectmen at Tuesday night’s (March 28) meeting.
The petition garnered 447 signatures from Saugus residents over a four-day period (last Saturday, March 25 through Tuesday, March 28), according to Vecchione. “They come from different walks of life and from both sides of the political aisle,” Vecchione told the board. And some of them were motivated to sign a petition for the first time, he noted.
The bottom line: “We hope the Board of Selectmen collectively votes in favor of this proposal based on the overwhelming support from the constituency that elects them,” Vecchione wrote in an email to Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano.
Vecchione was one of about a dozen people who spoke during the public comment session Tuesday night during the continuance of the public hearing on the permit request. He read the following petition in its entirety:
“We, the undersigned residents and registered voters of the Town of Saugus hereby submit the following petition for Board of Selectmen Consideration and for public record:
“We, the constituency that elects the Board of Selectmen, strongly urge the Board to grant the Special Permit (S-2) to Mr. Antonio Moura De Jesus to operate Moura Tattoo Studio at 28 Hamilton St. We believe that the location, business plan and proposed use of the currently vacant space adjacent to the commercial Hamilton Plaza and across the street from the Public Safety building meets all Special Permit criteria to receive a positive vote from the Board of Selectmen. Physical factors that have been considered are as followed:
- The entrance is setback 35 feet from the sidewalk and there is minimal interaction with the building entry and those accessing the public sidewalk.
- The studio is located within a B-1 Business zoning district.
- There is adequate dedicated parking directly in front of the establishment to further shield the entry and minimize distance the customer needs to walk to and from their vehicle to the establishment.
- The small front and side facade windows are currently shaded and the Board may condition that the windows remain shaded if visibility into the establishment is deemed problematic by members of the Board.
- Sessions are by appointment only and, as a result of this business model, no loitering will be present similar to the function of spas, salons and masseuses.
- The establishment is 18-plus, requires a scannable ID and there is no retail component that would permit anyone underage from even entering the building.
- The establishment abuts commercial spaces at both side yards (a hair salon and a convenience store) and the entrance to the Public Safety building is directly across the street.
We believe tattoo stigma should not exist in 2023 and recognize tattoo artists as positive, talented assets to our small business community both on and off of Route 1. We believe that Saugus should embrace small locally owned businesses looking to invest in town, specifically Mr. Moura whose stellar reputation and impressive art precedes him. Additionally, along with substantial financial investment in the property to date by the applicant. The occupation of an underutilized and vacant building at 28 Hamilton St. will positively contribute to the existing neighborhood fabric, specifically one with adjacent compatible commercial uses.
We reject the notion that the presence of tattoo studios, specifically and especially in a location like 28 Hamilton St. and its associated physical properties, negatively, adversely or impulsively influence children, teens or adults alike. We also reject the antiquated stigma that individuals with visible tattoos represent an undesirable demographic of people that are not well suited in a neighborhood like the one this studio is proposed in. The social acceptance of tattoos both at a personal and professional level is widespread in 2023. Tattoos, in many cases, symbolize something of significance and meaning in people’s lives. Given the applicant’s incredibly impressive portfolio of work, we should be proud that he is seeking to share his gift with the residents of Saugus and do business in Saugus. This is the right business for the area. The undersigned constituency strongly urges the Board of Selectmen to exercise common sense and consider all of the above factors including the overwhelming support as recorded in this petition and lack of opposition, objection and concern from abutters, municipal departments and Saugus residents alike.