HomeNews TranscriptNews Transcript NewsManalapan zoners grant use variance for micropigmentation clinic

Manalapan zoners grant use variance for micropigmentation clinic

MANALAPAN — The members of the Manalapan Zoning Board of Adjustment have granted a use variance to an applicant who plans to establish a micropigmentation clinic on the second floor of a building at 348 Route 9 North, Manalapan.

The building is just south of the Gordons Corner Road exit on the state highway. The building is on a 1.2-acre parcel between Route 9 and Franklin Lane.

During a meeting on Sept. 1 in the municipal building, board members Steven Leviton, Terry Rosenthal, Robert Gregowicz, David Schertz and Rob DiTota heard an application that was filed by Scalps Micropigmentation, LLC, as the applicant, and RST Corp., as the applicant/owner.

The applicant was represented by attorney Kenneth Pape, who called on Alex Asher to describe his plans for the Manalapan office. Asher currently operates a micropigmentation clinic in Princeton.

According to the website for the Princeton clinic, “scalp micropigmentation is a type of hair restoration treatment for those having experienced hair loss. This modern solution to hair loss, suitable for both men and women, replicates hair follicles by inserting small deposits of pigment on the scalp, offering the result of either a shaven look or a fuller head of hair.”

In addition to hair restoration, Asher, who is certified in New Jersey to perform the procedure, said micropigmentation can correct scarring and restore areas of the breast following cancer surgery.

Asher said clients primarily come to him with a referral that has been provided to them by a medical professional.

The two-story building where Asher was seeking permission to establish his office is in a General Commercial zone on Route 9. The building has retail space on the first floor and office space on the second floor, according to a legal notice published in advance of the meeting.

Asher plans to rent 1,800 square feet on the second floor of the building for the micropigmentation clinic. That type of business is not a permitted use in the General Commercial zone and that is why Asher was seeking a use variance from the zoning board.

During brief remarks to the zoning board before he asked Asher to come forward, Pape called micropigmentation “a unique and very valuable service.”

Pictures showing clients before and after the procedure were presented to the board members as a way of explaining the procedure.

Asher said he would not see more than two clients per day in the Manalapan office. He said the procedure takes between three and six hours to perform.

He said, for example, that one client could be scheduled at 11 a.m. and a second client could be scheduled at 4 p.m. All clients are seen by appointment only and the office would be open five days a week.

He said it might be possible at some point to add a second micropigmentation provider and a receptionist, for a maximum of three employees. The maximum number of people in the office at any time would be five (three employees and two clients), and there are 76 parking spaces associated with the building.

The zoning board members asked what the difference is between micropigmentation and tattooing, and Asher said micropigmentation is offered “to restore confidence in people. It is not for artistic purposes. A tattoo goes deeper into the skin and uses ink, while micropigmentation does not use ink.”

Asher stipulated to the board members that tattooing would not be provided in his office. He said a client would likely return in four to six years to repeat the micropigmentation procedure.

Pape then called on planner Allison Coffin to explain why, in her professional opinion, the board members could grant the use variance Asher was seeking.

Coffin said the two-story building on a 1.2-acre lot is a multi-tenanted structure that already has a physical therapist, an attorney, a jewelry designer and a swimming pool contractor, Anthony and Sylvan Pools.

She acknowledged that a micropigmentation clinic is not a permitted use in the zone, but said the proposed use “is best located in a zone that accommodates commercial uses. This use is an ideal tenant for a multi-tenanted structure. It is a use that does not require any physical changes to the property.”

Coffin said in her opinion, the use variance could be granted without any negative impact to the health, welfare and safety of the public.

The zoning board’s planner, Christine Bell, took no exception with Coffin’s presentation. Bell said the proposed micropigmentation office “is closer to a medical use than a typical tattoo parlor.”

No members of the public commented on the application when given the opportunity to do so. The closest homes to the retail/office building are in the Holiday North development off Franklin Lane.

In a brief summation, Pape said, “this is one of the more unique applications I have presented to you,” and he asked the zoning board members to consider approving his client’s request.

A motion was made to grant the use variance, with the stipulation that Asher’s micropigmentation clinic will not be used as a tattoo parlor at any time.

Leviton, Rosenthal, Gregowicz, Schertz and DiTota voted “yes” on the motion to grant the use variance that will allow Asher to operate the micropigmentation clinic at the Route 9 location.

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