Last night, Tradition Tattoo shop owner Rebecca Loveless had a quasi-judicial hearing with the Delray Beach City Commission regarding whether she could move her Boca Raton tattoo salon to the City of Delray Beach. She won! For your reference, I wrote an article on the issue this past Monday. Many members of the Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County (LPPalmBeach) both wrote the city commission and appeared at last night’s hearing to support Loveless and her small business effort. Although I was the only Libertarian who spoke in favor of allowing Loveless to open, several members showed up to show their support, including (but not limited to) LPPalmBeach Chair Shane George, Vice-Chair Marc Tancer, and Treasurer Larry Stone. No one at the meeting spoke out against Tradition Tattoo. But don’t get too excited, as city commissioners didn’t want Delray residents to have too much freedom because they restricted Loveless to only doing tattoos, no piercings allowed!
Loveless, who lives in Delray Beach, had signed a lease for a space in the south end of Delray after meeting with Delray’s planning and zoning earlier this year who recommended she open up shop there. So, she signed a lease and had to stop renovations once some members had concerns about Delray having its first tattoo shop. Loveless has now been paying rent on both spaces, even though the Delray location has remained empty. The city commission refused to give her final approval even though there was nothing restricting a tattoo shop from opening in the city. No one spoke against the tattoo shop from opening and ultimately, last night, all the city commissioners did the right thing by voting in favor of Loveless. After stating earlier that the case would be determined based on fact and not the character of tattoos or tattoo recipients, the mayor finished the quasi-judicial hearing with a long list of derogatory statements concerning tattoo shops and their effect on surrounding neighborhoods. A video of last night’s meeting can be found here: http://delraybeach.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=938
Unfortunately, it was only a half win for Libertarians as, even though city commissioners voted to permit Loveless to open Tradition Tattoo in Delray Beach, last night they voted on at least a 90-day moratorium of future tattoo shops from opening until the city can update their zoning regulations as they pertain to tattoo shops (Reso 26-16 Zoning in Progress ResolutionTattooStudio (1)-Delray). As mentioned earlier, there is nothing in the city’s code that restrict a tattoo shop from operating in the city limits.
Libertarians are not for or against tattoo shops and are free marketers when it comes to individuals transacting voluntary business with others. This is especially true in Loveless’ case because her business has the added benefit of artistic expression which is protected by the U.S. Constitution.