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Woman was all set to fulfill dream with vegan tattoo shop, only to be thwarted and shut down by Orland Park zoning laws

Woman denied dream as Orland Park zoning laws thwart her vegan tattoo shop 02:40

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- An environmentally-conscious suburban woman spent a lot of green to get her business up and running – and then after she had welcomed just one customer, the Village of Orland Park shut her down.

As CBS 2's Lauren Victory reported this Earth Day, Selena Carrion was set to open a vegan tattoo shop her very first business – and now it can't open. It was an American dream for Carrion, a daughter of immigrants.

"I just wanted to make be able to make [my father] proud, and you know, to my family proud," Carrion said as she grew emotional.

Carrion's tears of frustration came weeks after work panting the walls, ordering furniture, and hiring staff for her vegan tattoo shop - Venus Vegan Inks.

The ink she uses doesn't contain any animal products and her supplies are eco-friendly. She thought she'd found the perfect location in Orland Park – around the corner from Vegan Tease, a vegan restaurant.

"I just want to be a part of something and just make something – make something out of everything that I've been trying to do," Carrion said with a sniffle.

Her grand opening dreams were deflated when the Village slapped a "This Job Is Stopped" sign on her door earlier this month. It turns out the area of Orland Park where she rented commercial space isn't zoned for tattoo shops.

"I was not told that I was not in the right zoning by my lease agent," said Carrion.

She's also confused because her lease specifically says, "Permitted use: Tattoo and Piercing Ship [sic]."

The CapRock Real Estate agent involved in the transaction didn't explain what happened, but tells CBS 2 that Carrion was let out of her lease and given her deposit back.

To her, that's not enough.

"All l want is compensation for all the work and stress that I've gone through," Carrion said.

Who is responsible for knowing and abiding by village zoning laws? Is it the landlord or the tenant? We asked multiple legal experts  –  and the answer might surprise you.

"In a commercial lease, it almost always falls on the tenant," said Michael Zink of Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells.

The real estate attorney looked over Carrion's 35-page lease for CBS 2 and pointed to a tiny paragraph about tenant responsibility.

"No matter what kind of business they're opening, they're going to have to research what the local laws are whether that be zoning, municipal, or anything else," said Zink, referring to a tenant.

"I'm not giving up," said Carrion.

She's determined her vegan ink designs will find a home somewhere.

CBS 2 asked why the leasing agent allowed the tattoo artist to sign a lease in the first place if she wasn't zoned to be in that rental location. He said she should've applied for a special use zoning permit - but Orland Park officials confirm that wouldn't have mattered because tattoo shops haven't been allowed in that area of Orland Park for almost 30 years.

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