Berlin Extends Tattoo Shop Moratorium To Give Committee More Time

SNOW HILL – Town officials approved a second 120-day moratorium on the establishment of tattoo shops in Berlin.

The Berlin Town Council approved last week a 120-day moratorium to give the newly established tattoo ordinance development committee time to create regulations for Berlin.

“We’re looking for fantastic things out of this committee,” Councilman Dean Burrell said.

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. 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.

While that committee — which includes council members as well as local artists, residents and Town Administrator Laura Allen — has since met to discuss the issue, committee members Matthew Amey and Dana Helmuth told the council this week they needed a bit more time to draft regulations that would fit Berlin. They have invited health department representatives to their next meeting to receive their input on the ordinance being developed.

Amey said the committee wouldn’t have the ordinance complete before the town’s first 120-day moratorium ended, which was why the committee suggested a second moratorium.

“I’m positive we’re going to come to an amicable outcome,” Amey said.

Mayor Gee Williams had no objections to a second moratorium.

“It’s better to do a good job than do a fast job,” he said.

Amey said the committee would have a proposed ordinance to present to the council before the second moratorium expired.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.