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China Grove drops ban on tattoo parlors

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó Tattoo parlors are now legal here.
Aldermen voted Tuesday night to repeal the town’s long-held prohibition against tattoo parlors.
And the board went further, amending its zoning ordinance to allow parlors both in the downtown central business district and in the highway district along U.S. 29.
Aldermen Ron Overcash, a lifelong resident whose father was a former town police chief, said he doesn’t think there has ever been a tattoo parlor in the town limits.
Overcash joined aldermen Butch Bivens, Lee Withers and Mayor Pro Tem Blair Lyseski in approving the changes.
Alderman Allen Welter, who owns several properties in the downtown, called for the board to continue banning the parlors there, but to permit them in the highway business district.
“This is a good place. … The last thing we need is a tattoo parlor,” he said, adding that a lot of children frequent the ice cream shop. “We don’t need a bunch of guys hanging around a tattoo parlor.”
Welter voted against the changes.
At one point, Welter said he had been threatened with a lawsuit because he wouldn’t rent his property for a tattoo parlor.
Mayor Don Bringle, who doesn’t have a vote, also favored a continued ban downtown.
Responding to a question, Sgt. Brett Bass, the town’s interim police chief, said a tattoo parlor shouldn’t cause any more problems downtown than establishments selling alcohol.
Two speakers took opposite views during a public hearing.
Barbara Welter, Allen Welter’s wife, spoke against the parlors downtown.
Demian Stewart, owner of Dixie’s coffee shop, said anything that will bring customers downtown should be welcome.
He called on aldermen to put aside personal beliefs and prejudices.
Citing an informal survey he did, Stewart said the majority of the people he talked with don’t care.
The ordinance changes aren’t throwing the doors wide open. Anyone wanting to open a tattoo parlor will have to get a conditional use permit from the Board of Aldermen.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.

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