Planning Board Recommends Change To Tattoo Parlor Zoning

The planning board recommended approval of a change in the zoning ordinance that would allow tattoo parlors and piercing establishments to operate by right in several zoning districts in the city.

Currently, the body art and piercing businesses require a special permit regardless of where they are located. The ordinance change needs final approval from the city council.

The proposed change arose from a special permit request that came before the planning board in November from someone who wanted to open a tattoo parlor in Cary Square.

Board member Eric Czernizer recommended the board review a proposed amendment that would allow body art and piercing establishments by right in a number of zoning districts in the city, including the downtown business district, the neighborhood business districts, the highway business district, and the shopping center district.

“The new definition (for body art and piercing) follows very closely the board of health definitions for uses,” said John DePriest, the land use and permitting director.

Board member Mimi Rancatore cast the lone vote against recommending approval of the ordinance change.

“As much as I love the body arts, they are not the same as a hairdresser … and I’m still not comfortable treating it like it’s a barber shop,” she said.

Czernizer noted that he believed that many of the concerns over health and safety at the establishments already fall under the purview of the health department and the board of health. He said he didn’t believe the businesses needed to come before the planning board for a special permit.

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