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The City Journals

Body engraving business can now call West Jordan home

Sep 08, 2020 03:04PM ● By Erin Dixon

Body engraving and tattoo businesses are now legal in West Jordan. (photo/pixabay)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Before August 2020, anyone who wanted a tattoo or body art had to leave West Jordan for somewhere these businesses were legal. 

In February, Mike Johnson, owner and artist of Studio Elev8 in South Jordan, approached council with a request to change city code that currently prohibits tattoo businesses from operating in West Jordan. (See for more background on this story.)

Over the following months, staff and council worked on a West Jordan code amendment that would allow tattoo and body engraving in the city. The resolution passed in a 6-1 vote this August to allow them in three zones: SC-3 (Community Shopping Center), Redwood Road Overlay and CC-C (City Center Core).

Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock was the dissenting vote. 

“Tonight, I will be voting no though because I have had several people reach out to me and say it’s not what they want,” Whitelock said. “And my job on the council is not to vote what I want but vote on behalf of those I represent. Get a tattoo if you want one; that doesn’t change my opinion of that person. I’m basing my vote on [residents] desire.”

Councilmember Kelvin Green also heard from constituents that were against the resolution, but he voted yes. 

“When it comes to what I’ve heard from some people is that ‘we don’t want that kind of business in West Jordan,’ and I'm trying to figure out what is ‘that kind’ of business?” he said. “What we’re talking about a legal business. Where do you make the differentiation between a business that sells jewelry and one that does tattoos? Legal is legal. It’s regulated business.”

Councilmember Melissa Worthen suggested limiting the number of engraving businesses in the city. 

“Is there a limit to how many tattoo shops?” Worthen asked. “I would say that just like any business. You wouldn’t want one McDonald’s on one corner and another McDonald’s on another corner because that’s just not good business.” 

City Attorney Rob Wall advised the council that, “Unless you have a business that is creating a nuisance and you have data to that fact, it would not be defensible if you target that single basis. This city and other cities don’t limit the number and type of business; the market does that.”

The resolution is effective immediately.