City could soon allow more tattoo parlors

City could soon allow more tattoo parlors

PAWTUCKET - There may soon be more local options for getting inked up, as the Pawtucket City Council's ordinance committee is set to consider a measure that would make way for new tattoo parlors in the city.

The current maximum of six parlors would be changed to 10, according to an ordinance revision on the docket for a meeting on Wednesday evening, Jan. 8.

Deputy City Clerk Michelle Hardy told The Breeze that the measure was initiated by Councilor Jean Philippe Barros, who was asking on behalf of a man who wants to open a tattoo parlor in the Hope Artiste Village on Main Street.

According to Hardy, the applicant had gone all the way through the zoning process when he arrived at her office only to find out that all six of the city's allowed tattoo licenses were being used. The new applicant was told that a license would become available if not all of the existing tattoo parlor owners renewed their licenses, but all owners ended up renewing, she said.

Hardy said she also heard about another possible tattoo shop joining up next door to an existing tattoo parlor at the Hope Artiste Village, which would bring the total number of tattoo shops at the mixed-use complex to three. Barros was given the option of proposing an increase to seven or eight licenses, said Hardy, but chose instead to just go with 10 to allow even more tattoo parlors to open if desired.

Barros could not be reached for comment this week.

According to Hardy, she and City Clerk Richard Goldstein have been trying to figure out why there was a limit of six tattoo parlors to begin with. She said Golstein seemed to remember that years ago, tattoo parlors were banned in towns right over the line in Massachusetts, and city officials of the past wanted to make sure Pawtucket wasn't flooded by new applications.

Goldstein is now of the opinion that "it doesn't make any sense to have a cap like that," said Hardy, so it would be no problem to increase the number with the option of doing so again in the future.

Thomas Hodge, chairman of the ordinance committee, could not be reached.

Member Terry Mercer said "it only stands to reason" that officials would want to increase the number of tattoo parlors if more business owners want to set down roots in the city.

Member Albert Vitali Jr. agreed, saying "economic development and small business are very important to broadening the tax base of our city."