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Babak Tabatabai  is a master with ink.

“I’ve done a couple of bands, a couple of Grizzlies,” he said.

But something else is getting under his skin.

“I never thought you couldn`t open a tattoo shop here,” said Tabatabai.

He leased a space on Broad Avenue and invested about $30,000 to fix it up, only to be told that tattoo shops are prohibited in the Broad Avenue District.

“The owner of the building knew what you were going to do?” asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.

“Yeah,” he said.

“He never told you that it was against the rules?” asked Hall.

“Neither one of us knew,” said Tabatabai. “The zoning changed in January 2011.”

After sitting on a half-finished shop for five  months, Tabatabai asked a City board to make an exception for his business.  That request was denied.  It’s a decision backed up by the Historic Broad Business Association.

“We are against variance,” said Association President David Wayne Brown. “The reason we are is because we have been working for several years to build up the Broad Avenue District.”

Brown says the zoning code helps create the atmosphere the district needs: a family friendly environment.  A place where people can enjoy the arts

Babak says “art” is exactly what this is.

A petition has been circulating online in support of the tattoo artist and his shop. So far, since Thursday, it has gotten more than 980 signatures.