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City drafts ordinance governing expected tattoo, body-piercing establishment

News Staff Writer

When a Milton, Fla. tattoo and body modification artist expressed interest in applying to the City of Atmore for a license to operate a business here, a major problem cropped up. The city had no ordinance governing such an establishment.
City Codes Enforcement Officer Greg Vaughn and City Attorney Larry Wettermark finally ironed out an ordinance that will be considered a part of the city’s zoning regulations if approved by the city council at the May 13 council session.
“We looked at the ordinances other cities have,” Vaughn said. “We looked at Fairhope, Gulf Shores, Pelham and Spanish Fort to get the average distance, based on population, for these establishments.”
If the ordinance is approved, and the Florida businessman goes ahead with plans to open a tattoo and body-piercing establishment here, it will more than likely be located in the Church Street strip mall that includes Acapulco Mexican Restaurant, State Line Pawn and several other businesses.
Vaughn explained that the property is one of a few that meet the mandates of the new ordinance, which requires that such a business be at least 200 feet from a school, daycare center, nursery, church, park, public building or residential district.
“That is the sought-after location,” Vaughn said. “They are looking at that location because it falls within the ordinance.”
Just barely.
The proposed location — next door to the restaurant, in the storefront that is currently headquarters to the Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club — is 201 feet from the nearest residential district.
“It’s just inside the guidelines,” Vaughn pointed out.
Ordinance 01-2024, actually an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance, also prohibits the establishment of more than one such business within 600 feet of another, or more than one such business in any shopping center, strip mall or other multi-business location.
It applies to tattoo establishments, body-piercing establishments and combined tattoo and body-piercing establishments.
Several other restrictions are included in the zoning amendment, including that no merchandise other than body jewelry may be sold at such locations, and that no such business may be established inside a residence.
A community leader who asked not to be identified in print said he has mixed feelings about what will reportedly be Atmore’s first “legal” tattoo parlor.
“I think there was a tattoo guy here several years ago, but I’m not sure how legit he was,” the individual said. “It’s not something I’m crazy about, but the younger folks here already go to Pensacola or Mobile to get tattoos or body piercings, so they might as well be able to stay home to get them.”
Note: The ordinance is published in its entirety on Page 8A of April 17 edition.