While acknowledging a tattoo artist's impressive background and impeccable credentials, a Baltimore County zoning official denied his petition yesterday to open a tattoo parlor in Towson.
Vincent A. Myers, president of LVT Dermagrafix Inc. and owner of Little Vinnie's Tattoos in Westminster, had sought to open a tattoo parlor and body-piercing business in the 400 block of York Road in the heart of Towson.
Because such a use is not listed in county zoning regulations, Mr. Myers' attorney, Michael P. Tanczyn, filed a petition for a hearing, which was held Oct. 25 by Zoning Commissioner Lawrence E. Schmidt.
Citing zoning regulations, previous court cases and definitions from Webster's dictionary, Mr. Schmidt found yesterday that a tattoo parlor was not acceptable in that commercial zone.
"Only those uses as identified within the regulations as permitted by right or special exception are allowed," he wrote in the 14-page decision. "Any uses not so identified are simply not allowed."
Mr. Schmidt turned to the dictionary for interpretation to answer Mr. Tanczyn's arguments during the hearing that a tattoo parlor should be permitted as a beauty shop or barber shop.
"It is clear that the customers of tattoo parlors, beauty shops and barber shops all purchase the offered services with the intent to improve their appearance," Mr. Schmidt wrote in the decision. "However Webster's does not consider the terms synonymous."
Several community members attended the three-hour hearing to voice their opposition to the tattoo parlor, including attorney Justin King, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, who acted as the opponents' counsel.
He said he was pleased with Mr. Schmidt's decision.
The issue may come up again soon, because another tattoo parlor wants to locate in Towson. "We're going to fight [the ruling]," said Ed "Mouse" Massimiano, owner of Main Street Tattoo Studio in Edgewood who would like to open a shop on York Road. "I think it's ridiculous we can't open our own business."