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Mt. Juliet commissioners approve tattoo shop rezoning

Xavier Smith • Aug 29, 2017 at 2:35 PM

A tattoo shop is one stop closer to opening in Mt. Juliet after city commissioners approved a zoning change for the business.

The group approved an adult entertainment overlay, similar to a planned unit development overlay, for Division Street Tattoo Co. on Fiberglass Drive, which is in an industrial zoned portion of the city.

The business will be able to open its door if the commission approves the overlay on second reading in two weeks.

The owners of Division Street believed they were set to open their doors earlier this year until the city refused to give them a business license for the shop.

“Come to find out, the tattoo industry in this town is considered the adult entertainment industry,” said owner Michael Lanning, who added he has tattooed professionally since 2002.

Under the Mt. Juliet zoning regulation, tattoo parlors and body piercing establishments are classified as adult entertainment businesses, such as adult bookstores, adult motion picture theaters and adult stores.

Mt. Juliet zoning administrator Jennifer Stewart said based on Mt. Juliet Planning Commission documents, city commissioners requested a change in zoning related to tattoo parlors in 2013 after the group received several complaints about tattoo parlors within the city.

“Therefore, they had asked staff to revise the classification and change activity type,” Stewart said. “I’m not sure exactly why it was moved under adult entertainment.”

Stewart said the adult entertainment business activity type is only permitted in the industrial general zoning as an overlay district.

Stewart said the process to remove tattoo and body piercing establishments from the classification would take about eight weeks. She said the property owner would have to make a request to the city planning commission for a recommendation of change to the Mt. Juliet City Commission.

The commission would have to approve the change on two readings.

“I’m not sure about the image everyone has of a tattoo shop, especially with what’s been in Mt. Juliet. We’re a family business,” Lanning’s wife, Hannah, told the commission in July. “There’s so much more that we do besides put ink on people. I really hope that you guys will forget any tension and please keep that in mind. This is our livelihood. This is what we do. They allow them everywhere else except for here. It’s such a large city. You have so many people who want this here.”

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