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New beauty salon confronts parking denial

By Kevin Elliott

A proposed beauty salon at the southern end of Birmingham’s downtown area is facing parking challenges following the city commission’s decision on Monday, April 12, to deny the owner’s request for additional permissions.

Frank Jarbou, owner of Vibe Salon Suites, plans to open a Vibe Salon location at the former Detroit Trading Co., 670 S. Old Woodward. The salons offers private studio spaces for independent salon owners within a larger building that is designed for beauty professionals. Jarbou started the business in 2018, with its first location in Plymouth and additional openings planned for Birmingham, Shelby Township and Dearborn.

Because the building isn’t located in the city’s parking assessment district, it must provide on-site parking for use by the building. Although the site has an off-street parking facility with 24 parking spaces available, city code requires two off-street parking spaces per chair, booth or bed, requiring a total of 46 spaces under the proposed plan.

Jarbou requested the city commission allow the salon to use eight metered parking spaces in front of the building in the city’s right-of-way along S. Old Woodward to assist them in meeting the parking requirements.

Jarbou said he wasn’t aware of the parking issues when he started the process of bringing the salon to the city, but said he was looking for ways to satisfy the city’s requirements.

“It fell through the cracks, but the blame falls on my shoulders,” he said. “We didn’t investigate hard enough or fast enough, but we were also teetering on losing the deal.”

Birmingham City Planner Nick Dupuis said Jarbou reduced the number of chairs originally proposed, thus reducing the number of parking spaces to 46 from 64. He said Jarbou also included a parking agreement with the 555 building for the lease of 15 spaces. However, those spaces are too far from the building to count toward the parking requirement.

Jarbou said he included the agreement in the parking request to show good faith in attempting to meet the requirements.

Despite the efforts, commissioners rejected the request, citing concerns that the agreement would set a precedent for others and have the potential to create a parking problem in the area.

Commissioner Clinton Baller made a motion to approve the agreement, following Jarbou’s agreement to provide additional parking requirements on those working at the salon. However, the motion failed to gain support. Commissioners then passed a motion to deny the parking request, with Baller casting the lone 'no' vote.


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