The city of Lakewood has banned tattoo parlors unless supervised by a doctor, but they could be making a come back.
Lakewood Councilman Dan O’Malley is working overturn the ban. News 5’s Jennifer Auh looked into how the ban came about in the Cleveland suburb.
The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Patricia Ryan said the ban started out of concern for certain types of businesses causing property values to go down.
“For example, if I have a candy shop, and I have a tattoo parlor move in next door to me, will that affect my property value? Will that affect my customer flow?” said Ryan. “So sometimes there really is some research done on this, and it's not to pick on one certain industry.”
However, Ian Andrews, the Executive Director of LakewoodAlive, a community-based non-profit organization, said the city has become a millennial town and attitudes are changing.
“There are some incredible art, coming out of these places, especially millennials,” said Andrews. “That's the fastest growing population segment.”
Lakewood is filled with cute, local mom-and-pop shops. Right now, Andrews said the city's current focus is to allow economic growth and local businesses to thrive.
“It would just be one component of essentially saying Lakewood is open to all types of businesses, including tattoo parlors,” he said.
The city also offers incentives for new local business owners or those wanting to renovate their current business through its storefront renovation program.
Councilman O'Malley said he is in talks with a number of tattoo artists eyeing Lakewood, including Cleveland-area artists like Chuck Uhler.
“They want to come into Lakewood,” he said. “They're reputable and legitimate business owners.”
O'Malley said he wants to only allow legitimate owners and make sure there is not an over-saturation of them.
“In my proposal, we have it, so you can't have more than one tattoo parlor within 1,000 feet of another one,” he said.
The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce Executive Director said the jury is still out on its stance.
“I just want to see the feedback from the community,” said Ryan.
She said she also wants to see what the Health and Human Services Committee finds in its research about the impact of overturning the ban.
“I really encourage people to go to the city council meetings. They’re Monday evenings at 7 p.m.,” said Ryan. “Weigh in on this issue, is it an antiquated law?”
The meetings are open to the public. In addition to tattoo parlors, the City of Lakewood has also banned adult book stores and adult entertainment venues.