A planned Columbia tattoo parlor will not be able to open along a Devine Street strip already occupied by three other tattoo parlors.
Stan Hudgins, owner and CEO of 5 Brand Ink, had planned to open a shop at 4431 Devine, east of downtown near the Whole Foods-anchored Cross Hill shopping center. But on Tuesday, the city Board of Zoning Appeals denied his request for a special exception, saying it would have been one tattoo shop too many in the area.
The parlor would have been located within feet of Devine Street Tattoo, Dark Horse Tattoo and Diamond Cut Tattoo.
South Carolina law bars tattoo shops from operating within 1,000 feet of churches, schools and playgrounds, which limits the available areas for shops to locate. Two months ago, another hopeful tattoo shop ran into a potential wall of state regulations when it made plans to open near the University of South Carolina campus, about a block and a half from Greene Street United Methodist Church on the corner of Greene and Assembly streets.
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The difficulty of finding allowed locations for tattoo shops is why areas like that section of Devine tend to see a cluster of parlors, Devine Street Tattoo owner Jonathan Cheston said. Cheston spoke to the zoning board in opposition of Hudgins’ request.
The high concentration of tattoo establishments in the area is what kept board members from approving Hudgins’ exception.
“The idea of a special exception is that a particular use can be in an area sometimes but not others,” board member Patrick Hubbard said. “I don’t see in the testimony that the market for tattoo establishments is underserved to need yet another one.”
Hudgins had previously operated Five Points Custom Tattoo before closing the Greene Street shop after its general manager died while playing Russian Roulette in the shop in 2012.