Lawton tattoo parlor still fighting city to open business

Lawton_A Lawton tattoo parlor owner is fighting the city to open a second business. We first brought you this story a few months back. The owner of Eden Tattoos said he's now at a loss of at least 130-thousand dollars because he's renting out a store front, but hasn't been able to open his tattoo parlor in it. That's because Lawton city code doesn't allow a tattoo parlor to open within a thousand feet from a school, church, or playground. But the owner said he checked with the city and they told him they wouldn't enforce that ordinance. A judge in Oklahoma County already overturned a similar ruling as unconstitutional.

Over the last few months, Mike Evans said he's lost more and more money. Now, he's ready to take action. "I've had the lawyers hired up in Norman where they've been putting together the case to take the city to court and that stuff takes time and we've been trying to give the city the opportunity to avoid going to court," said Evans.

Now, he said the case is ready to be filed. "I've got it in hand and we're going to file it. We're going to give the city one last chance to take the evidence that they know we have and go in front of the city council and they can decide either yay or nay on removing the law."

City council will confront the issue next Tuesday. Evans said if they don't remove the ordinance, he'll file the lawsuit against the city the next day.  "This has cost me attorney money. This cost me money lost due to the business not being open. There's a large substantial amount of financial loss I have incurred from this."

It's not just that, he says the city hasn't enforced the law on all tattoo parlors in town. One down the road from him is right next to a church and very close to a school. "It's the exact same rule they are denying me for they give to another business. And that's just unfair business. They're not enforcing their rule across the board equally."

7NEWS talked to workers from Lawton's Licensing and Permits Office. They said they never gave Evans the go ahead to move in. They said he could have avoided all those cost if he had waited for the process to finalize. Then he would have found out his permit had been denied.