Croton Considering Repealing 30-Year-Old Ban on Tattoo Parlors

By Samuel Rowland

The Village of Croton-on-Hudson Board of Trustees is considering lifting a ban on inking tattoos for non-medical purposes within village limits. 

A public hearing was held on the issue at the board’s July 19 meeting, which ended with a unanimous motion to keep the public hearing open for the next meeting, on August 2.

“Unless I hear otherwise, my current position is that New York State requires a permit for a tattoo parlor and a special license for the people that perform it,” said Deputy Mayor Ann Gallelli, who was unable to attend the July 19 public hearing. “This is an outdated piece of code.”

Tattoo artist
For 30 years, tattooing for non-medical purposes has been banned in Croton-on-Hudson.

No constituents spoke at the July 19 public hearing on the issue. Two residents, Marie Considine and Catherine L., had left email messages with the board before the meeting, which were noted and summarized for the record by Village Manager Janine King. 

Considine suggested that the repeal should wait until the town had fielded an actual application to build a new tattoo parlor. Catherine L. felt that the health and safety rationales the ban cited (regarding the risk of hepatitis) were still relevant and that tattoo parlors were generally not “family-friendly”.

Mayor Brian Pugh, and Trustees Len Simon and Gallelli are in favor of the repeal. Trustee Sherry Horowitz, however, is not yet convinced, and without Gallelli or Trustee Ian Horowitz in attendance, the measure could not gain the three votes necessary to carry it. However, all were amenable to giving the public more time to weigh in on the issue.

“I do want to hear from the public and concerned citizens,” Simon said.

Simon further said that he has talked to interested villagers about the tattoo ban on his regular bike rides around Croton and most seem to want the ban repealed.

The initial idea for the resolution came from Pugh, who brought up the idea after being inspired to look for “outdated” portions of the Village Code to update after updating a decades-old zoning law that still limited buildings in the village from hosting more than two arcade cabinets, thus de-facto banning arcades.

“In both cases, we’re dealing with businesses where I think public opinion has evolved,” Pugh wrote in an email. “In an age when the retail sector is undergoing rapid change…service-based businesses are a resilient alternative. As the local economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, I don’t think local government should be bars to new commercial investment.”

Croton’s ban on tattooing was adopted on August 20, 1990, apparently to be consistent with the contemporary ban on tattooing in New York City, according to incoming Village Manager Brian Healey. New York City, which had banned tattooing in 1961, but repealed its ban in 1997. 

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