Porter County eyes regulating tattoo parlors
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent June 4, 2013 6:19PM
Updated: August 20, 2013 4:26PM
VALPARAISO — Porter County may soon be joining the one-third of the counties in the state that regulate tattoo and piercing parlors.
At its meeting Tuesday, the Porter County Board of Commissioners gave the go-ahead for Nathan Vis, an attorney representing the county’s health department, to work with county attorney Betty Knight to draft an ordinance regulating tattoo parlors.
A proposed ordinance could be ready for commissioners by late summer and take effect with the start of next year.
The county now has eight permanent tattoo or piercing facilities and one mobile unit, Vis said. Health and safety issues, as well as possible underage access to the parlors, have been observed, he said.
“We can’t license the artist, but we can regulate the facilities for safety standards,” he said, which would include inspections once or twice a year.
The county is interested in whether the shops are clean and following procedures for blood-borne pathogens, among other measures, said Kelly Cadwell, the health department’s environmental health specialist.
The parlors, which are sometimes set up like beauty shops with booth rentals, have to be certified by the state to handle blood-borne pathogens, which takes the place of a state license, Cadwell said.
“We feel the best way to do this is with the facility itself,” she said. A parlor’s manager or owner would be responsible for making sure tattoo artists are properly educated.
In other business, commissioners voted to expand a feasibility study of the Porter County Expo Center to include a sports feasibility study, for a total cost of $134,000.
The study, which will be undertaken by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International, will look at supply and demand for different sports, how to manage facilities, and a financial analysis, including maintenance, operations and revenue, said Lorelei Weimer, executive director of Indiana Dunes Tourism.
Combining studies for sports and the expo center makes sense, she said, because the expo center may play a role in any sports programming, and that also saves the county $10,000 over the cost of doing two studies.
“It would be the roadmap to us developing sports in the future in Porter County,” she said.