This tattoo parlor can stay in Old Town after Wichita City Council decides to allow it

A change to the city’s zoning code will allow Afterlife Tattooz to continue operating in Old Town.

Thanh Do told The Eagle this summer that he strategically chose Old Town to start his business because “it’s in the middle of everywhere.”

He didn’t know when he moved into part of the former First Gear space at 111 N. Mosley that the Old Town Overlay — a zoning plan designed to protect the historic and architectural character of the area — specifically prohibited tattooing and body piercing establishments.

Afterlife Tattooz received a notice to vacate but was granted an extension by the city while it reviewed the zoning requirements.

The City Council on Tuesday struck that prohibition from the unified zoning code, moving to allow tattoo parlors and body piercing studios as long as they operate by appointment only. They must open no earlier than 10 a.m. and close before 10 p.m.

Scott Wadle, director of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Department director, said members of the Old Town Association told staff they were supportive of removing the ban.

“Really, this is a conversation about whether tattooing is appropriate in Old Town,” Wadle said. “They have advised that yes, they are in support of the text amendment to the zoning code.”

“We have a whole lot of zoning overlay rules in Old Town that are just simply outdated,” association president Debra Fraser said in July. “Things are just evolving.”

The planning commission voted 9-1 to recommend the changes to the Old Town Overlay, which has been in place since the early 1990s.