Morehead City Looks At Zoning For Tattoo Shops
By Jannette Pippin
Published – May 23, 2009
MOREHEAD CITY. NC – The Town of Morehead City is now considering zoning rather than proposed licensing requirements to address where tattoo and body piercing establishments can operate.
The town’s Planning Board has recommended an amendment to the Universal Development Ordinance to allow tattoo and body piercing businesses within the commercial highway district, according to Morehead City Planning Director Linda Staab.
The recommendation will go to the town council for consideration. A public hearing will be held during the board’s June 9 meeting, she said.
The Morehead City Planning Board unanimously approved the recommendation at its May 19 meeting.
If approved by the town council, the action would limit the location of the businesses to the U.S. 70 corridor from an area around Carteret Community College west through town, she said.
“This looks at the issue from a land use perspective instead of regulatory,” Staab said.
The town considered a proposed amendment to its Code of Ordinances that would have required tattoo and body piercing businesses to meet licensing requirements under the city’s police powers.
That proposal died earlier this month when the town council chose to take no further action on the draft ordinance. The proposal was sent back to the council’s planning committee for review after a March public hearing which drew opposition. Tattoo and body piercing shop owners, as well as others, felt the requirements would make it difficult, if not impossible, to operate in the town.
The proposal required all body-piercing services, except for piercing of the ear lobe, be done under the direction of a physician, osteopath or physician assistant licensed in North Carolina. Both types of establishments would have been required to provide a public liability insurance policy of at least $1 million.
The proposed ordinance also called for certain restrictions, such as limiting the hours of operation and prohibiting businesses from hiring someone convicted of a felony with the past five years.
Now, zoning is being considered as a way to address the original concerns.
The town drafted the licensing regulations in response to concerns expressed by the Board of Directors of the Downtown Morehead City Revitalization Association, which sent a letter to the town last April.
At the time, there were an increasing number of tattoo parlors in the downtown area. There was concern about their appropriateness in the historic downtown which has been under revitalization efforts for more than 10 years.
There were three tattoo and/or body piercing establishments located downtown. One has since closed and another has relocated to another area in town.
In the case of zoning, Staab said, any new regulations would apply only to new businesses. Any existing business not meeting the zoning regulations would be considered nonconforming but would still be able to continue operations.
Staab said all but the one downtown tattoo shop are currently within the commercial highway district.
Source : jdnews.com