KNIGHTDALE — Residents here are one step closer to seeing the town’s first tattoo parlor open after town Council moved a proposal to the next steps of approval last week.
The proposal, which would allow full-body tattooing in more of the town’s districts, was referred to the Land Use Review Board before returning to town council for a final vote.
Currently, the town allows full-body tattooing in manufacturing and industrial districts, which are at the eastern and western ends of the town.
Knightdale property owner Alyse Jeffreys asked for a zoning change in September so she and her niece, Laurel Jeffreys, could open and operate a tattoo shop they’ve been planning since July in a different part of town.
The Jeffreys are looking to operate in a highway business zone. To do so legally, town council has to rewrite what kinds of businesses are allowed in highway business zones. Most importantly for the Jeffreys, the council will have to allow full-body tattooing in those zones.
Knightdale currently allows tattooing above the neck, which generally means permanent makeup.
The proposal sets restrictions for potential tattoo parlors to follow. Tattoo shops can be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the town is relying on state code to regulate the keeping of the shop.
North Carolina code requires tattoo shops to abide by certain sanitation standards and requires individual tattoo artists to have a license, which has to renewed every year.
Knightdale also took examples from Wendell and Zebulon, which regulate tattoo shops with varying levels of restrictions.
Wendell allows tattoo parlors in commercial highway districts, with extra regulations. Tattoo parlors must be 1,000 feet from churches, schools, daycares, nursing homes, hospitals, residences or residential zones and at least 1,000 feet from any establishment with an ABC license.
Tattoo parlors must be at least 2,000 feet from each other and some parlors may require on-site security.
In Zebulon, tattoo parlors are allowed with a special use permit in central business, general business and heavey business districts.
Knightdale councilman Dustin Tripp, who was chairman of the Planning and Engineering Committee which drafted the proposal, said allowing tattoo shops gives local businesses a chance to thrive.
“I really think the allowance of tattooing (would help us) keep revenue,” he said.
Right now, Laurel Jeffreys says residents would have to travel almost to Cary to be tattooed, as most tattoo shops in Raleigh are in the western side of the city.
“(Knightdale) has a very young demographic,” Jeffreys said. “I think they would really enjoy (a tattoo parlor).”
Documents obtained from the Wake County Environmental Health and Safety Division show that if the Jeffreys open their shop, it will be the only licensed shop in Knightdale.
According to the documents, there are 35 tattoo shops in Raleigh with licensed artists. Cary has four, Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs both have two shops with licensed artists and Apex is home to one licensed shop.
Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews