JONESVILLE — Jonesville’s town meeting on Monday had a vigorous turnout as many residents came out to speak their thoughts on the council’s consideration of passing an ordinance restricting the location and hours of tattoo and piercing parlors.
The ordinance was first suggested during the April 11 town meeting on by Police Chief Roger Reece, who asked the Town Council to consider adopting the ordinance. Ordinances from the town of Elkin and the city of Concord have been used as models by the staff for a possible local ordinance. During Monday’s meeting, the council held a public hearing to discuss the possible ordinance.
The proposal was met with strong backlash from Jonesville residents. Tattooist Cameron Horton of Mix’D Ink Tattoo Studio has had worries about what affect the new ordinance would have on his new business in town.
“My problem is we want the growth for Jonesville,” said Horton. “We don’t want to restrict both present and aspiring businesses. We’ve had multiple tattoo parlors in Jonesville in the past. Why are we looking into putting restrictions on tattoo parlors now? There are many good people in this town who have tattoos.”
Many residents have backed Horton, stating that the new business would be beneficial to Jonesville’s growth and economy.
“This town should be anxious to take any business that is a legal business and allow it to establish here in Jonesville,” said resident Kevin Krantz. “Look around this town. Many businesses are out of business and boarded up. We have empty shopping centers everywhere. We need businesses of all kind as long as they are a legal business, and tattoos are a legal business. I don’t have a single tattoo on me and probably will never get one. If someone wants to get one, they should have the right to get one in this town. If someone wants to open a tattoo parlor, that is their business and this town should not be trying to stop them.”
Town Manager Scott Buffkin reminded everyone that tattooing is a regulated licensed occupation in the state of North Carolina, and nobody was trying to make tattooing illegal in Jonesville.
“The only thing that we would require is that the business be set back from a church, school, or other place of residential and public assembly,” said Buffkin.
Jonesville Mayor Gene Pardue stated that the matter was presented to council members to discuss. The council is well aware of the legality of piercing shops and was not trying to force any businesses out.
Following all hearings the Town Council proposed a draft to restrict tattoo and piercing parlors at least 500 feet of a school, churches, park and other location of public assembly. Resentment against the decisions was strong.
“We don’t have a problem with a store opening up across from a church,” said Krantz. “The tattoo parlor’s not even going to be open on Sunday at the same time of the church. Nobody’s going to be trying to go to church to recruit people to come down the parlor. What you are proposing there, councilmen, is that there will be no place for anyone to open a parlor that’s not within 500 feet within a church, a school, a park, or a residential area. As long as it’s zoned in a commercial area, it should be fine. If a church is within that commercial area, they will have to deal with the fact that they will be nearby businesses that they will not like.”
“Don’t make it so restrictive that other such businesses can’t open,” said resident Susan Cheeks. “If he gets good clientele, more will come. He can grow. You know the space he’s going to rent, he can expand his business in the future. You know the taxes you’re going to collect from his revenue?”
Following the hearing on the tattoo ordinance, the council moved on to other matters, with no decision made and the understanding the ordinance will be revisited at the June council meeting.
In other business, the council voted to move municipal elections on even-numbered years. The board approved the resolution to lengthen all council member terms by one year, moving everyone to even-numbered years. From that point forward, all future terms will be four years.
A resolution in support of the NC Rural Economic Development Center’s strategies also was discussed for rural North Carolina’s future. The town council endorsed the rural strategies which would entail:
• Advocating for innovation in education and workforce development;
• Stabilizing and transforming rural health;
• Expanding accessible and affordable broadband;
• Accelerating modernization of essential rural water and wastewater infrastructure;
• Expanding and upgrading transportation and natural gas infrastructure;
• Investing in stronger entrepreneurship and business development;
• Strengthening homegrown manufacturing;
• Developing agriculture and natural resource opportunities, such as bio tech and food processing;
• Enhancing collaboration and partnerships;
• Stabilizing and leveraging rural developing funding.
A request for a resolution in changing the number of members on the Jonesville Tourism Development Authority was tabled for future discussion due to Councilwoman Anita Darnell’s absence and her significance on the matter as the chairman of the Tourism Development Authority board.
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.