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1,000 Foot Buffer Requirement for Tattoo Facilities

How does DHEC determine the 1,000-foot requirement?

As stated in the S.C. Tattoo Act, DHEC will not issue a tattoo license to a facility if it is located within 1,000 feet of a school, church or playground. Measurement of the required minimum 1,000-foot buffer will usually be computed from the front door of the proposed tattoo facility to the first door of common usage encountered at the established church or school. A door of common usage does not necessarily mean the main entrance, but is one that is customarily used by member of the congregation/students/staff/public to enter and exit the church or school.

Other considerations:

  • When the inspector, during the course of measuring to confirm that a minimum 1,000 distance exists, encounters a fence immediately around a church grounds or school yard, the measurement shall end at the gate or entrance to the fence.
  • When outlying church or school buildings (not necessarily the main building) where religious services or the processes of education are normally conducted are encountered in the measurement process, measurement shall be to those outlying buildings. Boiler buildings, storage barns, etc., shall not serve to interrupt the measurement process.
  • Where a church or school parking lot is contiguous to the church or school building, the measurement will be to the entrance of that parking lot. The parking lot will not be considered contiguous where there is a public street or other intervening property running between the church or school parking lot and the building.
  • A playground will be considered a place, other than the grounds at a private dwelling that is provided by the public or members o f a community for recreation. Measurement of the required minimum 1000” buffer between a tattoo facility and a playground will be computed from the front door of the proposed tattoo facility to the area where recreational use occurs.
  • A playground will include parks or other sites (e.g., athletic fields) provided by the public or members of a community for recreation. In these cases, measurement will be to the area of the park used specifically for play.
  • When the inspector, during the course of measuring to confirm that a minimum 1000” distance exists, encounters a fence immediately around a playground, the measurement shall end at the gate or entrance of the fence.
  • Where a playground parking lot is contiguous to the playground, the measurement will be to the entrance of that parking lot. The parking lot will not be considered contiguous where there is a public street or other intervening property running between the parking lot and the playground.

For specific questions about the 1,000-foot distance requirement, please call us at (803) 545-4370. Measurements that are made without consultation of DHEC may be incorrect and are not valid certifications of the statutory distance.

Zoning Requirements

The S.C. Tattoo Act does not dictate local zoning requirements. You need to provide DHEC with a certified copy of an ordinance passed by the local governing body where the business will be located that authorizes the tattooing of persons within that jurisdiction.

Read additional information about the Zoning Requirements for Tattoo Facilities (pdf).