HUNTINGTON BEACH : Tattooing Classified as an Adult Business

Despite pleas of some tattoo artists, the City Council has enacted zoning regulations that classify tattoo parlors as an adult business.

By a 5-2 vote earlier this week, the council enacted the new restrictions, which greatly limit where a tattoo establishment may operate.

During a public hearing Monday , several tattoo artists urged the council not to classify tattooing as an adult business--a zoning category that includes massage parlors.

Raul Munoz told the council that there is a “misconception” about tattoo establishments.


“Tattoo (establishments) are something which would not hurt the Huntington Beach community but would definitely enhance it,” he said. “I would like to open up a shop in this area.”

Only one business in the city operates openly as a place where people can get tattooed. That business, on Beach Boulevard near Indianapolis Avenue, drew a protest at the meeting from one resident.

“I’m not saying it (tattooing) is wrong,” said Sarah Kersten, who lives near the business. “I’m saying it’s the wrong location for the business. . . . For the neighborhood, it is wrong.”

The owner of that business, Traci Goodson-Smith, told the council that tattooing is only one aspect of her store. Goodson-Smith said she has a valid business license and that since she obtained it before the city passed its zoning for tattoo establishments, she expects to be “grandfathered in.”


But city zoning officials told the council they disagree with Goodson-Smith. They said tattooing was never permitted under existing licenses and that Goodson-Smith’s business should not be allowed to include that service at its current location.

Councilmen Jim Silva and Earle Robitaille voted against the tattoo zoning restrictions. Silva said he wanted to increase the distance tattoo parlors must be from residential areas. The zoning regulation passed by the council requires a 200-foot separation; Silva asked for a minimum of 250 feet.

Robitaille, after the council meeting, said he voted against the zoning measure “because I don’t consider tattooing an adult business.”

On Wednesday night, at another meeting, the City Council considered a new ordinance that would require health and safety standards at tattoo parlors. That ordinance, which is expected to be given final passage next month, is a companion measure to the new zoning restrictions on tattoo establishments.