By Sue Botos
City officials have bought themselves some time to mull over the issue of tattoo parlors in the city.
“This will give us some time to develop some guidelines and regulations. At the present time, we have no specific regulations,” commented Councilman at Large Jim Schieda, who sponsored the legislation which was passed at city council’s Sept. 26 meeting.
The resolution states that a moratorium has been issued concerning the building, zoning or occupancy permits for businesses to be used for “dermagraphic art/permanent tattooing” and further prohibits other licenses or variances for such facilities.
The legislation comes in answer to a request by tattooist Harry Lawrence to open a business on Center Ridge Road in a building shared by the J & C Chinese Restaurant. The planning commission denied his request after discussions centered around the appropriateness of the proposed shop in an area currently zoned local business. The commission also questioned whether or not a tattoo establishment was a recurring business, which would fit the model for local business. Commission members felt this was more broad-based, better suited to a general business classification.
Residents living near the property also rejected the idea of the shop, stating that it did not fit the demographics of the area, and would draw an undesirable crowd.
At the August planning commission meeting, Matt Hallit, an attorney representing Lawrence, accused the city of trying to “shoehorn” a legitimate business out of the city. Law Director Andrew Bemer said he will study legislation from other cities concerning tattoo parlors.