BERLIN – Town officials formally created a committee this week to develop tattoo shop regulations for Berlin.
On Monday the Berlin Town Council approved the formation of a six-member tattoo ordinance development committee. The committee members, who were nominated by Mayor Gee Williams, will be tattoo artists Matthew Amey and Dana Helmuth, who both have art studios in Berlin, as well as resident Patricia Dufendach, Councilman Zack Tyndall, Councilman Dean Burrell and Town Administrator Laura Allen.
“It’s in your hands,” Williams said, “and I think it’s in good hands.”
In September, after an inquiry from a business interested in microblading, a type of cosmetic tattooing, town officials decided it would be prudent to create an ordinance to regulate tattoo shops within town. The night the council was set to consider an emergency ordinance, however, several residents came out to voice their opposition to what they called “draconian” regulations. They argued that the ordinance as proposed, which would have required the presence of an osteopath or physician in tattoo shops, was not practical. Amey and other objectors asked for a more contemporary ordinance.
In response to the outcry, instead of approving the ordinance town officials passed a 120-day moratorium on the establishment of tattoo shops and agreed to have a committee develop appropriate regulations.
“The idea of this tattoo committee is that this is new ground for Berlin,” Williams said. “We’re not out to prohibit this art form but we also want to be sure that like we try to do everything else in town we do it well, with pride… I’m very confident this committee will bring back those recommendations.”
Allen, who will be the lone non-voting member of the committee, said she was hoping to schedule the first committee meeting for the second week in December. She’s already collected material from the health department regarding tattoo shops as well as sample ordinances from other municipalities. She plans to share that information with committee members in advance of the first meeting so that when the group meets its members will be ready to discuss issues and ideas that could be put in place here.
“The committee’s charge is to develop an ordinance for Berlin,” Allen said.