WEST JEFFERSON-Locals soon might scratch that itch, as interest in body piercing and tattooing is growing in town as evident by a recent planning board meeting.
On Aug. 11, Mason Harris, owner of the Joy of Vaping, approached the board about the possibility of opening a tattoo shop in the back of his current business at 911 S. Jefferson Ave, according to board minutes.
Although town zoning ordinances prohibit tattoo and body piercing services within West Jefferson, Harris stated he is requesting a conditional use permit, which would allow the planning board to control this type of business in West Jefferson and on a case-by-case basis, as stated by the board in the meeting’s minutes.
During the meeting, Harris stated the tattoo industry would bring “a lot of money into West Jefferson as people now go away from here to get tattoos and piercings.”
Harris stressed that if allowed to operate this type of business, it would be under strict supervision and standards as required by himself, in addition to the laws of the state and health department.
Harris would first, however, need a conditional use permit because current zoning ordinances prevent this type of business. The decision to add the CUP text to the current zoning ordinance will be made by the West Jefferson Board of Aldermen at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12.
If that gains the board’s approval, each individual new permit request, such as the one Harris said he intends to prepare, must be approved by the town’s board of adjustments. The members who comprise the town’ planning board also sit on the board of adjustments.
The Aug. 11 decision by the planning board to refer the matter to the board of aldermen didn’t come without opposition.
According to the minutes of the meeting, board member James Ellis made the motion to amend Section 904 – Tattoo and Body Piercing Services within the zoning ordinance, which states that these services would be permitted only within the Highway Commercial district following approval of a CUP. This motion would also allow the town the authority to intervene with business operations if not up to town expectations.
Shawn Horton seconded the motion.
Following a vote, the board remained deadlock at 5-5 on the decision with one member not voting. The member who did not vote did not formally excuse themselves from the vote or ask to be excused, therefore the non-vote is considered a ‘Yes’ vote, said Town Clerk Wesley Barker. Therefore, the final vote was 6-5 in favor of recommending the amendment to the board of aldermen for final approval.
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.