Changing times as tattoo parlor to open in Claremont

Since a 15-year ban on tattoo parlors was lifted in 2001, Claremont is set to welcome its first ink emporium.

Hector Paramo, a law enforcement officer who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, has filed his papers with the county clerk to open Victorious Gallery Tattoos at 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Suite 102B.

“I would say determination was the key to opening the shop,” Mr. Paramo said. “The city gave us a map with the zoning that allows tattoo shops, and it’s very, very limited in the city of Claremont.”

After some calls and searching, Mr. Paramo located a vacancy in the Claremont Boulevard industrial center, which boasts an array of local businesses, from the nonprofit Shoes That Fit to Claremont Craft Ales to the COURIER office.

“Our tattoo shop is not going to be like other shops,” he said. “We’re targeting the more professional crowd. Our artists are professionals and that is our main goal.”

Claremont first adopted the county’s public health code in 1959, but made several amendments unique to the city, including the ban on body art facilities. Put into effect in 1994, Claremont’s ban on tattoo parlors came largely because state and local legislation at the time did not enforce health code inspections at body art shops.

The neighboring city of Upland, by contrast, has long permitted tattoo shops and is currently home to more than a half dozen ink parlors.

In 2010, a First Amendment rights case out of Hermosa Beach was taken to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after a tattoo artist in that city was denied from opening his business. The plaintiff’s win was cause for concern for Claremont city staff.

So, in September 2011, Claremont moved to make changes to regulations on tattoo parlors to comply with rights granted by the First Amendment.

“We can regulate it and determine where they can go,” Brian Desatnik, director of community development explained, “but we have to allow them at least somewhere in the city, like these industrial park areas.”

Although the Claremont City Council lifted the ban in 2011, it came with restrictions. Tattoo shops are not permitted within 200 feet of any residential district, religious institution, school or public park, and no two ink shops are allowed within 250 feet of each other. Restrictions do not apply to medical procedures performed by medical doctors or jewelers who offer ear piercings.

Inking is only permitted in areas zoned specifically as business/industrial parks, like the complex north of Foothill Boulevard, between Claremont Boulevard and Monte Vista Avenue. A second possible location would be the complex north of Arrow Highway and south of the railroad tracks, located east of Cambridge Avenue and west of Bucknell Avenue.

Victorious Gallery Tattoos has an opening target date of early- to mid-June.

—Kathryn Dunn


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