Tattoo parlor considered 'adult entertainment,' can't open in cu - WSMV Channel 4

Tattoo parlor considered 'adult entertainment,' can't open in current location

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Under current law, Division Street Tattoo will not be allowed to open in its current location. (WSMV) Under current law, Division Street Tattoo will not be allowed to open in its current location. (WSMV)
MOUNT JULIET, TN (WSMV) -

The phrase “adult entertainment” might bring to mind clubs or video stores.

But in Mt. Juliet, tattoo parlors are also on that list, and it’s preventing one family’s business from opening its doors.

The Lannings received approval from the state and county, so they were shocked when the city said no to Division Street Tattoo. It all has to do with a law passed four years ago.

Michael Lanning ran a tattoo parlor in Davidson County for several years.

“We typically just take a few minutes with the clients and just do some rough sketches,” Lanning said.

It has always been his dream to open a shop in his hometown.

He was so close.

“It is a shop that could be,” Lanning said.

The artwork is up, agreements are signed and the needles are ready.

Lanning said he went down to city hall last week to apply for a business license. But Monday, he got a call from zoning saying he could not operate in a commercial zone.

A law enacted in 2013 states tattoo parlors fall under the “adult entertainment business category,” and adult stores are prohibited from that district.

“Nowhere in my time being a tattoo artist has sex ever been a part of it. Why are we not classified in the same category as beauty shops, which are regulated by the health department which we are?” Lanning asked.

Channel 4 reached out to the zoning administrator for more clarification. Jennifer Stewart sent the following statement:

In 2013 the Board of Commissioners passed an Ordinance that added the classification “Tattoo and body piercing establishment” under the Activity Type “Adult Entertainment Business”.  That Activity Type is only permitted in the zoning classification Industrial General, as an overlay district.

The City only learned about this business late last week when the owner applied for a Business License and myself today, in which I contacted them immediately. There have been no approvals given by the city for this business.   No permits were ever pulled for the new sign they installed, nor were building permits were ever pulled to cover the remodel of the existing space.  Had they followed proper procedures by pulling the appropriate permits or at least contacting the Zoning Department they would have been informed sooner that the use was not allowed in their current zoning district.

City leaders said the Lannings’ only option is to operate in the industrial district.

“It’s not a clean enough environment," Hannah Lanning said.

Michael Lanning's wife Hannah asked commissioners to reconsider.

“It’s not what you may think it is. It’s about community and it's about family,” she said.

City commissioners said Monday they are willing to sit down and talk with Lanning about his business at a later date.

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