JPNC approves body piercing and tattoo studios; 34-36 Rossmore Rd. project

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) Zoning Committee met on September 2, where three different projects in the neighborhood were approved: a proposal for a body studio at 387-399 Centre St, a tattoo studio at 68 South St., and the construction of two new three-family residences at 34-36 Rossmore Rd.

387-399 CENTRE ST.

Proponents from Rockstar Body Piercing proposed to convert the existing beauty salon at 387-399 Centre St. into a body piercing studio. Attorney Mike Ross said that the owners of Rockstar Body Piercing have been operating a studio in Providence, RI since 2002. He said that this proposal is “consistent” with existing body art and tattoo shops open in the city, and that Jamaica Plain currently does not have a body piercing shop.

The shop will create around 10 jobs for the neighborhood, and the owners will upgrade the storefront and remove the existing metal grates, Ross said.

This project has come before the Committee before, but they were told to come back after working out legal issues between the landlord and the owners of the beauty salon and the body piercing studio.

Ross said that there continues to be ongoing legal issues.

JP resident Adiely Rashell, daughter of the owner at 397 Centre St., said there has been less business recently due to COVID-19, and “there has not been a date set to move out from that place,” she said.

She said that the owner has a family to provide for, so “that is something to keep in mind as well.” She said she wants to see the beauty salon remain where it is. “I do not want this business to come into place,” she said of the body piercing studio.

“This is not the job of this Committee to settle the existing dispute between the existing tenant and the landlord,” Committee member Jerry O’Connor said. “This is not a vote on whether the hair salon should stay,” added Committee member Peg Preble, and O’Connor said that “this is not a vote against the hair salon.”

Committee Chair Dave Baron said that he would like to “express no opinion on the current dispute.”

Some people had questions about the proposed space for the body piercing studio. Committee member Kyle Smith asked fi there was any security for the sale of precious metals.

“I want to use the term precious metals loosely,” Ross said, as there is some higher end jewelry available but “we’re not stocked with diamonds,” said owner Rob Murphy. There will be video cameras and alarms on the premises, and the store will be designed in such a way that it fits in with the rest of the neighborhood, he added, which includes no use of neon signage in the windows.

After further discussion, the Committee recommended approval of the body piercing studio with the proviso that the approval is limited to this applicant only.

68 SOUTH ST.

A tattoo studio was proposed by Gabrielle and Chirstina Hahn for the space at 68 South St., next door to McCormack and Scanlan Real Estate.

The space is currently vacant, the proponents said, and the studio will be set up with individual rooms using office cubicle sliding glass doors, they said.

Christina said that a “big advantage” of this location is that it is on a bus line, so people could easily access it.

Neighbor Sara Wemiel, who said she lives behind the building, said she has concerns with sound coming from the building. She said that the realty company has air conditioners on the roof that they turn off at night, so she wanted to make sure that no extra noise would come from having the tattoo studio there as well.

Christina said that the studio would share an HVAC system with McCormack and Scanlan, and “currently, noise from that system would not change significantly.” The space would also share a bathroom with McCormack and Scanlan, she said.

She said that the projected hours for the beginning of operation would be from 10am to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday, and after that they anticipate being open seven days a week.

“We don’t anticipate bringing any additional noise or crowds or creating any disruptive environments,” she said. The “motivation for opening a shop is to create a really mellow environment where we can kind of exist. [We’re] looking for a relaxing, chill space to work in,” she said.

Resident Starr Wilson said she had a tattoo done by Gabrielle, and said that she was “very professional,” and there was not group gathering at the location where she went. She also pointed out that people will be able to park their cars at the Forest Hills T stop and take the 39 bus right to the studio so there wouldn’t be a need to worry about parking.

The Committee voted to approve this application for this petitioner only.

36-36 ROSSMORE RD.

At 34-36 Rossmore Rd. Developer Liam Lydon and architect Elaine Scales proposed the demolition of the existing building at 34 Rossmore Rd., and the construction of two new three family residences, one at 34 Rossmore and one on the adjacent lot at 36 Rossmore.

Lydon said that he and Scales had “quite a few meetings with the [Stonybrook Neighborhood Association] (SNA),” and “had a pretty good rapport with them and came up to a pretty good result.”

They received a “fairly supportive letter” from the SNA, and made changes like pushing the building back from the sidewalk, covered the front porch on the third floor, and reduced the parking from six spaces to four to increase the floor space in the area, Lydon said. They are also going to try to save some of the existing trees as well as plant others that will eventually replace the tree canopy in the area. Two abutters also requested fences, Lydon said.

Sue Cibulsky, chair of the subcommittee on this project for the SNA, said that “we worked for several weeks with Liam and Elaine,” and worked on solutions to problems the committee had. She added that the sidewalk around the entire project will be improved by the proponents.

Committee member Kendra Halliwell said that whole “the buildings are beautiful,” she would like to see the mechanicals shifted to a different location for the building on the corner so they are not as visible.

The team said they will make every effort to hide the mechanical units.

SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane spoke positively about the tree canopy replacement.

The Committee voted to approve the project with the proviso that a “best effort” should be made to locate the mechanicals behind the building face or screen them on the rooftop.

All of these projects will be before the full JPNC at its meeting on September 22 for a final vote.

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