LAKE WORTH, Fla.-- You won't see any new tattoo parlors pop up in downtown Lake Worth, at least not for a while. The city passed a moratorium this week to ban any new tattoo businesses from renting spaces in the downtown area.
Ironically, the moratorium comes at a time when there are more than a handful of vacant spaces downtown.
"You can see it's pretty dead here right now," said Travis Bosmans, who lives in West Palm Beach but says it's more cost-effective to go out in downtown Lake Worth.
There are three tattoo parlors within less than a square mile of each other, but some feel it's not fair to keep out specific businesses when there is space available.
"To get businesses down here, to help thrive their economy, that’s their job. It's not to keep people away or businesses away if they have someone who wants to put a business there, they have someone paying taxes," said Juan Velez.
Solid Image Tattoo is the most recent parlor to open downtown. Ariana Peters with Peters Realty found the tenant. The company owns more than 40 properties in the city.
"We feel that when we brought the the tattoo parlor here, we thought it as a legal, conforming, positive business. We see it in so many other downtowns that we’re involved in," said Peters.
The manager of Solid Image said the moratorium doesn't hurt or help them. Peters said she doesn't necessarily think it will have a negative impact downtown either.
"We’ve had so many exciting positive businesses having interest in our downtown spaces, we’ve had yoga studios, we’ve had artists, we’ve had wine bars," added Peters.
But increasing rent is a growing problem, especially during the slow summer months.
Kilwins Chocolate Shop recently closed. Saito's restaurant also shut down. Starbucks has a notice on its window that it has moved to another location and Studio 205 at the corner of Lake Avenue and L Street is moving soon due to high rent.
Still, John Dudek, who manages Solid Image, said the rent doesn't compare to what the tattoo parlor was paying when it was located in Delray Beach. "You can’t survive to open a business when all of your profits are going towards your rent. Here the rent is not as bad," said Dudek.
Lake Worth is also not the first city to restrict the location of tattoo parlors. Delray Beach also restricts where tattoo shops can open and how close one can open to another.