The Carolina Beach Town Council voted Tuesday night to allow businesses to give body piercings on the island.
According to town documents, the town denied a request to allow piercings in 2002 because “it was not considered in keeping with a family-oriented boardwalk.”
“Historically, the town wanted the niche of the CBD to be retail shopping, restaurants, entertainment and some services oriented to the beach. In some communities, these uses are prevalent in poor areas and associated with crime and health issues. For that reason, many town’s are hesitant to open up allowances for these activities,” the documents said.
A tattoo shop in Carolina Beach petitioned the town to allow piercings. Pleasure Island Tattoo and Gallery submitted a petition in October.
The shop’s co-owner, Jesse Gurganous, met with town leaders twice prior to Tuesday’s meeting about allowing piercings on the island. He said those talks went well.
“Piercings are something that are going to be here and they’re going to be done regardless of whether or not we can,” Gurganous said. “They’re going to go somewhere and they’re going to get it. Why not cater to that? Why not regulate it and make sure it’s very safe and very clean and very effective and do it for the people that are wanting it?”
According to Gurganous and his employees, the shop was turning away five to 10 people who wanted piercings on an average summer day. He said that it was not just his shop losing money. It was the town too.
“I’ve sent many, many piercings over the bridge (to Wilmington),” said Jason Moore, a tattoo artist. “That’s potential money that we could’ve made here and the rest of the island as well. If you go over the bridge to get a piercing, you’re more than likely going to stay there and eat lunch as well or spend the rest of your day.”
The planning and zoning board recommended the town council approve body piercings on the island with the use of a permit in the highway business district. Gurganous said before the vote that he was hopeful town leaders would agree and approve his request.
“There’s a lot more here than just beaches and carnivals,” Gurganous said. “There’s so many restaurants, so many people here with families and children that strive to make a living, and all we want is for people to be happy and use what we do and come in and use our services.”