The Delray Beach City Commission approved a draft of an ordinance limiting the location and operation of tattoo parlors in the city.
City commissioners, who unanimously approved the ordinance on November 1, claim it is needed because tattoo parlors can encourage criminal activity.
City officials have cited as evidence an FBI report in 2015 on gang activity, which found that motorcycle gangs own some tattoo parlors and use them for criminal purposes.
The draft of the ordinance, which needs final approval from city commissioners to become effective, would exclude tattoo parlors from locations in some zoning districts, including Atlantic Avenue, and locations within 300 feet of a school or church, or within 75 feet of another tattoo parlor.
The city ordinance also would prevent tattoo parlors from operating after 10 p.m. at night and from tattooing customers near a window where the public can see them.
Delray Beach began drafting the ordinance after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Key West violated First Amendment rights by prohibiting the operation of tattoo shops in the city’s downtown area.
Delray Beach ordinances currently lack any references to businesses that sell tattoos.
Gary Edinger, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who works on First Amendment cases, told the Sun-Sentinel that Delray Beach legally is exploring a “new frontier … I sure wouldn’t want to be the first city to enact an ordinance like this.” [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth