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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Carolina Beach Editorial: Council Should Permit Tattoo Shops

Carolina Beach Editorial: Council Should Permit Tattoo Shops

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

You know someone, possibly a family member, that has a tattoo. And they're not the definition of a "bad element" as some in the community would stereotype tattoo shops.
Tattoo and body piercing businesses are not the shops of decades gone by. The stigmas and negative stereotypes have long passed and it's time for Carolina Beach to progress into the modern age by abandoning the preconceived, "We don't want those kind of people here" prejudices that evidently still prevail in certain archaic old-fashioned mindsets.
The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission recently voted four to three to recommend the Town Council not approve a rezoning request to permit such businesses to operate in the Highway Business District. (See page 1-A)
Tattoo shops are not a negative. No more than a motorcycle dealership that sells Harley's to guys wearing leather jackets with tattoos while dropping $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 or more on a bike they'll ride on vacation from their law or medical practice. Tattoo shops are not "cheap." And purely from a business perspective, the Island Gazette would love to have a tattoo shop next door attracting people willing to spend hundreds, sometimes over a thousand, dollars or more on art. Potential customers with healthy disposable incomes. Retail and restaurant businesses should take note. The Town could easily permit tattoo shops (body piercing also) and do so by setting certain criteria. There are already sign regulations and other zoning regulations that apply to all business types in order to maintain a general level of appearance throughout town. The State has a licensing agency for tattoo and body piercing businesses as well as an inspection process that ensures they meet strict health and safety requirements.
Bonafide tattoo shops provide a safe, regulated service and help to curtail individuals who advertise such services online without regulation and inspection. The Town could certainly use more tax revenues.
One important aspect to consider, once one or two open their doors in Town, the market will be sealed up based on supply and demand. Meaning, there will not be a "tattoo alley" in Carolina Beach with a wall of shops in a particular area no more than any other business.
A tattoo shop is no more intrusive to the community quality of life than a bar/hotel that has outdoor entertainment that can be heard in the quiet residential areas of Town during the summer months playing well into the evening.
One local business owner commented at a recent meeting that permitting such businesses would "open Pandora's Box" by attracting people that aren't in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere the Town desires. Yet he doesn't have a problem with people who have tattoos and has clients who have tattoos. Planning Commissioners made similar comments. Council should decide this issue based on facts, not emotion based on stereotypes and certainly not a mythical "Pandora's Box".