Planning and Zoning Board recommends denial of special use permit

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Lily’s Hot Stone Massage “a non-existent business entity,” says Village Attorney

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (March 15, 2018) – The Planning and Zoning Board met on February 14 to hear the request of Lily’s Hot Stone Massage, Inc. for a special use permit to operate a massage parlor at 3674 Ridge Road. An Sun Lee, manager of the business; Grace Kwon, owner; and translator David Choe were present at the meeting.

Because the location is zoned B-4, CBD Downtown, a special permit would be required in order to operate a massage parlor there.

Saad Abbasy chairs the Planning and Zoning Board, and he had researched the application from Lily’s Hot Stone Massage prior to the meeting and informed the Board of his findings. Abbasy expressed concern that Kwon currently operates a massage parlor in Rhode Island that is (1) advertising sexual services, and (2) engaged in legal proceedings with the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, due to allegations of prostitution.

Kwon, with Choe translating, stated that those legal proceedings are the result of workers not having state licenses, and that the suggestive advertising used as evidence of prostitution was the work of an advertising company whose work she had not seen previously. Kwon assured the Board that her business has nothing to do with sexual conduct.

Regardless of the nature of the business, Village Attorney Matt Ingersoll stated that Lily’s Hot Stone Massage, Inc. is not listed as an incorporated or LLC business in either Illinois, Rhode Island, or Delaware and that a special use permit could not be granted to a non-existent business entity. Lee, through Choe, explained that incorporation was in process, and Lee provided a receipt showing that she had paid an attorney to get her licensed in Illinois. However, neither applicant had any other proof that the business entity had been formed.

The Planning and Zoning Board reached a unanimous decision to recommend that the Village Board deny a special use permit for Lily’s Hot Stone Massage, Inc.

At the March 6 Committee of the Whole meeting, Trustee Brian Hardy reported on the Planning and Zoning Board’s meeting, letting them know that Lily’s Hot Stone Massage had requested a special use permit and that the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendation was to deny that request. Village Attorney Matt Welch confirmed that because Lily’s Hot Stone Massage was not a legal entity at the time of their request, there was no legal way to grant a special use permit. Trustee Hardy asked that the item be put on the agenda for the next Board meeting, so the Board could vote whether or not to accept the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board to deny the request.

During Public Comment, Attorney Christopher Smith spoke on behalf of Kwon, who was also present. He presented a letter from the Secretary of State approving their incorporation documents. “If that was the basis of denial,” Smith said, “we’d like to have the Planning and Zoning Appeals Board reconsider that decision in light of this corrected information.” Attorney Smith did not reference the concerns about the nature of Kwon’s other business and its relationship with the city of Pawtucket.

The Village Board is scheduled to vote on the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendation at the March 20 Board meeting.

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