VIRGINIA CITY - Lacking an ordinance that would govern the operation of tattoo parlors, officials in Storey County are gearing up to create one.
Reno parlor owners Robert Michels and Tom Oki want to open a shop on Virginia City's C Street and have applied for a license, but Storey has no ordinance governing this type of business. It's a fact that has Storey County officials concerned about health risks and liability.
Nevada Revised Statutes do not address the regulation of tattooing and body piercing. Washoe, Carson and Clark Counties have written their own ordinances and, following Tuesday's commissioners' meeting, it's likely that Storey will follow suit.
A decision on the issue was postponed until the first meeting in October, when findings and a new ordinance will be discussed.
The lack of an ordinance was not the only objection to a tattoo parlor in Virginia City.
Storey County Superintendent of Schools Henry Kilmer objected to the parlor's proximity to the school and some Virginia City businessmen wrote letters saying the parlor doesn't fit with the historic quality of the neighborhood.
Attorney Terry Thomas, representing Michels and Oki, said he reviewed the letters and believes legitimate concerns revolve around the church's possible objections and the fact that there is no age requirement established in Nevada for getting a tattoo.
"People can't object just because they don't like tattoo parlors on esthetic grounds," he said. "But Storey doesn't want an unregulated business and that makes sense."
The ordinances in Washoe County are extensive but fair, according to Thomas, who said a lot of the work of creating a new ordinance has been done by other counties.
In addition to other ordinances in Nevada, officials will be looking to those in Seattle and Salt Lake City.