Key West tattoo shop ruling reversed

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a ruling barring a Virginia man from opening a tattoo shop in Key West.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found recently the city lacked evidence in arguing that adding tattoo shops would hurt tourism. The Key West Citizen reports the judges also found city officials misused tattoo-referencing lyrics in Jimmy Buffett’s song “Margaritaville.”

City officials twice referenced the song to support their argument that inebriated tourists would be more likely to get tattoos and then regret getting tattoos if more tattoo shops were open in Key West’s historic district.

The appeals court ruled that U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez erred in his 2014 ruling that the city did not violate Brad Buehrle’s First and 14th Amendment rights.

Buehrle had asked the city to issue a permit allowing him to open a commercial tattoo business in a historic stretch of Duval Street.

The judges said in their ruling that the city failed to prove that Buehrle’s proposed tattoo shop would erode the historic district’s “character and fabric.”

Tattoo parlors were banned within Key West city limits until 2007, when the city amended zoning rules to allow a limited number of them.


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