ALMOST IN DELAND — Always Anchored owner Brittany Arizona poses with tattoo artist Chase Berenson in the lobby of her shop just outside of DeLand city limits at 198 N. Spring Garden Ave.

An OK from the DeLand Planning Board brings tattoo and body piercing studios one step closer to being able to move into Downtown DeLand.

Local tattoo artists and piercers have recently pushed for a change to the rules they said stigmatize tattoo artists. The requirements for tattoo studios under the current code make it next to impossible for studios to open anywhere other than outside the city.

“I would assume it was done because people were afraid of tattoos, or they didn’t like tattoos, or whatever it might have been,” Planning Board Member Buz Nesbit said.

The proposed new rules eliminate the significant buffers imposed on tattoo establishments citywide, and they also open a new venue for studios: Downtown DeLand.

However, the Planning Board felt the new rules proposed by city staff were still too restrictive.

As proposed, tattoo studios — renamed from “tattoo parlors” to “tattoo establishments” — could move into Downtown DeLand, but each studio must be at least 1,000 feet from another.

The Planning Board didn’t love that, and neither did members of the public who attended the meeting.

“I’m really concerned this is the best staff could come up with,” local contractor Ken Goldberg said. “A 1,000-foot buffer means there would be, like, one tattoo parlor in this town.”

Planning Director Carol Kuhn later chimed in to clarify that if the first tattoo studio opened up near the middle of Downtown DeLand, the 1,000-foot spacing would mean that around three studios could open Downtown.

“That’s three more than the zero,” Kuhn said.

Other types of businesses that have requirements for spacing include bars (300 feet separation in Downtown DeLand) and assisted living facilities (1,000 feet).

Other speakers urged the board to reduce the distance requirement, too, like Neighborhood Center of West Volusia Chief Operating Officer Waylan Niece.

Niece is covered in tattoos, and he said the art on his body has never impacted his ability to do the work he does for countless local organizations.

“I’m a professional in all I do, and I’m tatted up,” he told the Planning Board. “We can come up with something better than this.”

Ultimately, the Planning Board settled on approving a less restrictive version of the rules, reducing the 1,000-foot spacing rule to just 150 feet. The vote was unanimous.

Always Anchored Tattoo owner Brittany Arizona told the Planning Board she wanted to see the new rules implemented as soon as possible and refined later if need be. Still, she told The Beacon, the rules on spacing are “excessive,” and she hopes the City Commission goes for the Planning Board’s recommended changes.

The next step is for the DeLand City Commission to have its say. The City Commission will need to approve the rules on two readings — at two separate meetings — before they go into effect. Only then can eager tattoo artists and piercers open in Downtown DeLand.

The City Commission is expected to hear the new rules first at its next meeting Monday, Aug. 21.

The DeLand City Commission typically meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month in the City Commission Chambers at DeLand City Hall, 120 S. Florida Ave. Meetings are also broadcast online at the city’s website, HERE.

— Editor’s note: Noah Hertz has pierced ears (done by a body piercer in Orange City) and one tattoo (from a studio in Orlando).

What staff proposed and what the board passed

The DeLand Planning Board is an advisory body that recommends changes to ordinances, resolutions and development plans that the City Commission can choose to heed or ignore. In the case of the changes to the city’s code for tattoo studios, the Planning Board recommended more lenient rules than city staff proposed. It will be up to the City Commission to either approve the Planning Board’s recommendations or go with what city staff recommended.


— Tattoo studios can’t operate between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m.

— Tattoo and body piercing establishments can’t be within 1,000 feet of one another.

— Work and artist studio areas can’t be visible from the street.

— Windows for tattoo and body piercing studios can’t be obscured by window tinting, racks or other obstructions.


— No change to the hours of operation.

— The Planning Board recommended reducing the distance between tattoo and body piercing studios from 1,000 feet to just 150.

— No change to the rule about work visible from the street.

— Windows for tattoo and body piercing studios can’t be obscured by blackout window tinting, but the clause prohibiting “shelving, racks or similar obstruction” was removed.

Members of the Planning Board also expressed wanting to see proper explanation in the city’s code about the difference between permanent makeup — a type of cosmetic tattooing typically done by dermatologists — and tattoos. In addition, members of the Planning Board said they would like to see tattoo and body piercing studios — grouped together in the city code — eventually placed in the same category as spas and beauty salons for zoning purposes. That would allow studios to open in nearly any commercial zoning area.


  1. Does anyone see a conflict between requiring tatoo establishments to not obscure their windows and not allowing them to do tatooing visible from the street through said windows. Barbers perform their work in full view of the public, why not tatoos. And why restrict business hours. If the owner of a tatoo establishment is seen cleaning up or working on their books after 12 midnight, is the police going to knock on the door and tell them to go home? This is all ridiculous.

  2. I think your comment is comparing apples to a pork chop. A barber and a tattoo artist are not similar, one is an artist and one is well the one who styles your hair. Let’s be fair here…. How about we open the door and wait for the city, local business owners and residents to recognize that this will be a positive thing for our city. Not everything needs to be a fight, think of it as forward progress. Imagine where can go from here with new ideas and staff that supports change. How about supporting the city’s wanting change? I know moving forward WE all should support any change that moves us forward and demand involvement in the process.


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