Mesa will challenge an appellate court ruling that favored a tattoo shop and that could have statewide implications by making it harder for cities to regulate where some kinds of businesses can locate.
The City Council voted unanimously Thursday to appeal a Nov. 3 ruling from a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals. The court ruled Mesa couldn't reject a tattoo shop application in the Dobson Ranch area because nearby residents told the city they considered it incompatible with the neighborhood.
The court found tattoo parlors are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as the artwork they produce, and that limits government from restricting where they can go.
Mayor Scott Smith was the sole vote in support of the application from Ryan and Laetitia Coleman's Angel Tattoo. But he voted for the appeal, saying the court threw out decades of precedence in the ruling.
He said the case is about much more than the Colemans because the ruling is broad enough that it affects communities across Arizona. Smith said he found the ruling suspect because it begins by stating the case was the court's first opportunity to deal with the First Amendment rights of tattoo artists.
"To me, there was almost a giddiness in there, that ‘Oh boy, we get to deal with an issue!' And I think that started the appeals court down a road that took them to places they shouldn't have been going," Smith said.