Some raise stink over business based in ink

MILFORD – Amid attempts to rally opposition to a tattoo and body piercing shop on the Oval, the man who plans to open the shop is inviting people to stop by and talk to him next week.

Meanwhile, his opponents are asking people to go to Monday’s selectmen’s meeting to see if they can stop the body art shop from opening.

LA East Tattoos and Body Piercing, formerly of Laconia, is scheduled to open in the PC Carr Realty building on the west side of the Oval on Saturday, Dec. 6.

An unsigned ad in this week’s edition of The Cabinet asks people to “join us at the Nov. 24 selectmen’s meeting . . . to help stop tattoos on the Oval” and to go to the town Web site “and express your feelings.”

In addition, June Costa, owner of the J.M. Princewell gift shop, called the shop “dirty and offensive” and “not a positive step forward” for Milford, in a letter to the editor printed in this week’s Cabinet.

Wilfred Lamontagne, owner of LA East Tattoos and Body Piercing, said this characterization is unfair. “I don’t know why they would write something like that,” he said. “I wish people would drop by and check it for themselves.”

Lamontagne, who said he has his state permits and a town permit allowing him to put up a sign, claimed his shop was never cited for a violation during his 31 years in the business. He said he will be in and out of his new shop all week – including all afternoon on Monday – and everyone is invited to drop in.

Lamontagne said he closed his shop in Laconia and decided to move south because of the declining economy in the Lakes Region.

Selectman Tim Finan said has heard from several people about the tattoo parlor. “I have probably heard from a half-dozen people who oppose the shop, and maybe three times that number who feel that we have no place picking and choosing what kind of businesses we will allow,” he said.

Town Planner Sarah Marchant told The Cabinet last month that there is nothing in the town’s zoning ordinance to prevent a tattoo parlor, “an approved retail use.”

The town’s Main Street director, Tracy Bardsley, said she’s had a mixed reaction and that some people have said that a tattoo shop is welcome if it’s clean and well kept.

Lamontagne said that Costa’s comparison of his shop with Precision Body Art in Nashua, which in her letter she called “pristine, clean and artistic,” is unfair because the Nashua shop is in a new building and his is in a historic building.