Waynesville Unbanning Tattoo Parlors: Latest News Update

A clause prohibiting any new Waynesville tattoo parlors was added to the town’s land-use plan 12 years ago. However, it went unnoticed until recently.

New tattoo studios have indeed opened in town since then, but no one had been aware of the ban, so it wasn’t enforced. Now that it’s been discovered, a new tattoo studio wanting to open in town has appealed to get the ban lifted.

It passed in a split vote at Waynesville’s planning board two weeks ago and now heads to the town council of aldermen for an open hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14.

Byron Hickox, Town Zoning Administrator, said that no one knows how the ban was slipped into the revised land-use plan rewrite. However, it went unnoticed within the massive document. In parenthesis to a section about beauty parlors and barber shops, the three-word exclusion clause was added.

Canton leaders voted to lift the long-standing ban against Waynesville tattoo parlors one year after it was quietly implemented in Waynesville.

Two weeks ago, Waynesville’s planning board was presented with the issue. Some were against lifting the ban and wanted to define the areas where new tattoo parlors will be permitted.

“Some folks felt tattoo studios should be in a different category, while others felt they were no more intrusive than a hair salon,” Hickox said of the planning board discussion.

Concerns were expressed by those who noted that tattoo studios are open late and sometimes even until midnight. They also have a lot of people that congregate at the studios, including customers.

But others felt that regulating tattoo studios based on what-ifs was beyond the scope of the planning board’s purview.

“Technically, any business could decide they wanted to stay open late and has the potential to create problems, and we have police to handle those situations,” Hickox said, recounting the planning board discussion.

The vote went 4 to 3 with Stuart Bass, Babarba Tom, and John Baus voting against it. If the town board chooses not to lift the ban completely but instead regulates where new tattoo studios may open in town, regulations would apply to all existing tattoo studios, even those allowed to open in the 12 years before the ban.

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