City Council gives first-round approval of tattoo, piercing businesses in Old Town
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The Wichita City Council has given first-round approval to zoning changes in Old Town that would allow for tattoo and piercing businesses in the district.
The council on Tuesday unanimously approved the change in its first reading. It will be up for final approval at a later date.
Conditions for the change would be that tattoo and piercing businesses have to be by appointment only, and the can only operate between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on any given day.
If you step inside the shoe store "All Things Hype" in Old Town you’ll see a small shop inside. Its Thanh Do’s tattoo studio, Afterlife.
The location was intentional.
"I studied a lot of where to be located at for business wise and they always say centralization is the best,” said Do.
However about a month after Do opened the studio last fall, he received a letter from the City of Wichita telling him his business was not allowed in Old Town.
Do says he and the landlord he is renting from had no idea when he moved in that this was an aspect of the overlay.
"It was very like sad to think I’d have to either go back to my old place, or just, just shut down after investing some money into this," said Do.
Old Town is covered by an overlay, or a special set of rules for a particular area that go on top of zoning requirements.
It can be something like design standards for a business, how big outdoor signs can be or about what businesses are allowed to operate.
In Old Town’s overlay, it specifically bans tattoo parlors.
The issue caught the eye of the Old Town Association after Do started talking to other businesses.
“We got together as the board and talked about it and we all felt that it was somewhat outdated," said board member Brooke Russell.
Russell owns Brickyard and Public and many of the businesses in the area that want the shop to stay in Old Town because it brings in a different clientele.
"As a board, we're just trying to figure out how we can better diversify Old Town because we really want lots more people coming to Old Town to experience different things," explained Russell.
Russell says her businesses have had people come in directly after visiting Afterlife and All Things Hype.
Do says with the support of the association, he has been working with the city to have the overlay changed. On Tuesday it goes in front of the city council for approval.
“I'm feeling confident because, because of the support," Do said.
Even if the vote doesn't go his way, Do says he's happy he started this conversation.