Not in downtown Laurinburg.
Tattoo parlors are no longer permitted there following a unanimous vote this week by the Laurinburg City Council.
The move to ban tattoo shops was instigated by the Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation. LDRC representative Jim Willis spoke in favor of the ban at Tuesday’s meeting along with downtown business owner Jeanette Herlocker.
Willis said his group is working to “create an environment of like businesses.”
“This has nothing to do with wanting to keep (tattoo parlors) out of town … (We) just want to best showcase what we have.” Willis said. “We don’t believe that this is the type of business that will best do that.”
Willis also told the council that it would be “going against the wishes of every single property owner downtown” if the city failed to enact the ban. Willis added that he had informally surveyed downtown merchants and that they had, without exception, voiced support for the ban.
Councilman Kenton Spencer, who had been critical of the ban earlier this month, said that he was swayed to vote in favor of it in part because of the lack of opposition at the meeting.
“The weight of the opinion of downtown merchants was great,” Spencer said.
Spencer questioned Willis prior to the vote about alternatives to an outright ban, which Spencer worries may dampen artisan interest in downtown.
“Is it about the tattoo parlors or their appearance?” asked Spencer. He had promoted the idea of installing a uniform aesthetic code for downtown rather than specifically banning tattoo parlors.
Councilwoman Mary Jo Adams made clear her support for the merchants’ decision, telling Willis that she “totally supports your efforts.”
Under the ordinance amendment, tattoo parlors are restricted to the general business district and will also be subject to certain distance restrictions. Tattoo parlors already in that district will be grandfathered in as an exception.