Tattoo parlor issue remains up in the air

The city's building inspector issued a stop-work order, saying the property isn't zoned for such a facility.
NILES -- There's still no decision on whether a moratorium will be imposed to prevent body-piercing and tattoo establishments in the city.
Tim McCoy wanted to open a tattoo parlor and body-piercing parlor on U.S. Route 422. Peter Marchese, city building inspector, issued a stop-work order at the building last month, saying the property isn't zoned for such a facility and contending that McCoy didn't obtain a building permit to erect interior walls.
That prompted city administrators and council members to consider a moratorium on new tattoo and body-piercing facilities.
"There are questions concerning health that definitely need to be addressed," said Councilman Stephen G. Papalas, D-at large.
Council's safety committee met Wednesday to discuss the issue but didn't make a decision. McCoy has appealed Marchese's decision, and a hearing before the city's board of zoning appeals is set for next week.
J. Terrence Dull, city law director, said the Ohio Revised Code includes a provision allowing municipalities to prohibit such facilities.
Just down the street: Maurice Skiffey, who owns the property, pointed out that another tattoo parlor is a few doors down from where McCoy wanted to open his.
"I don't see how you can have one there and restrict another," Skiffey said.
Council members said they were unaware of the existing establishment. Marchese said the facility, Roy's Iron and Ink, may have come in to the city before he became the building inspector.
Michael Burke, city director of environmental health, said the city previously referred complaints about tattoo parlors to the state health department. That changed in 1998, and the state requires municipalities to license and inspect them.
Health concerns: Committee members said they're concerned about health issues regarding body-piercing.
Skiffey said several facilities at Eastwood Mall offer ear piercing. Burke said the regulations from the state don't require inspections and licensing for facilities that pierce using a piercing gun such as those at the mall.
McCoy previously operated a tattoo parlor in Warren but had to move when a new owner bought the building and decided to tear it down, he said. Councilman Reginald Giancola, D-3rd, asked why McCoy didn't move to another location in Warren. That city prohibits body piercing.
McCoy said he couldn't locate available space at a reasonable price in Warren.