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Village Board considers removing limits on number of massage parlors, tattoo shops, salons

Administrator Podgorski requests “business license amendment” to Ordinance 13-10

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (August 22, 2018) – An ordinance that was adopted in 2013 limits the number of certain types of businesses that can be granted a license within the Village of Lansing. Specifically, that ordinance reads:

The following business licenses shall be limited in the number of such licenses issued within the village:
1. Pay day loan stores . . . 3
2. Dry cleaners . . . 6
3. Nail salons . . . 8
4. Hair salons . . . 27
5. Barbershops . . . 5
6. Secondhand dealers (not including jewelers) . . . 2
7. Consignment/resale/shop/thrift shop (not including antique dealers) . . . 3
8. Tattoo shops . . . 1
9. Massage parlors . . . 3
10. Child day care centers . . . 25
11. Banks and financial institutions . . . 13

(Ord. No. 13-10, § 1, 3-5-2013)

At the August 21 Committee of the Whole meeting, the subject of amending this ordinance came up as part of Trustee Brian Hardy’s Building and Economic Development report, and Administrator Dan Podgorski said that removing this restriction would “help him fill a building” that a potential business owner with salon experience is interested in.

Podgorski explained that the requester has experience in the salon and personal care services industry, and she would like to set up a business as “business incubator” or business suite for hair stylists who are just starting out. Currently, all hair salon, nail salon, barbershop, and day care licenses are in use.

Trustee Hardy was in favor of the business suite model.

Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich expressed support of the business suite model, but wondered why it might be necessary to change this particular ordinance in order to have a business suite in Lansing. And she expressed concern about the impact that changing the ordinance might have on existing businesses. “I’ve seen these [business suites used by] mortgage companies, accounting firms, and financial businesses that need a professional space to meet with their clients,” she said at the meeting. “…But I’ve never seen a beauty salon or a massage parlor in any of these suites. It concerns me that we may flood our area with individual beauty chairs all over town when we have our own beauty shops and barbershops that are always trying to stay open.”

In an interview after the meeting, local salon owner Kris O’Connor confirmed that concern. “It could put us out of business,” she said. “We have enough salons who are looking for help already. Every salon has a Help Wanted or a Booth Rental sign. There’s already plenty of room for hair dressers who are starting out.” O’Connor owns Classy Cuts Salon at 3365 Ridge Road and has been advertising for additional stylists since she opened in 2016. “I have four chairs open—if anyone wants to rent space, tell them to come on in!”

Grady-Perovich also asked for input from some of the longer-term Board members about the reasoning behind enacting Ordinance 13-10 in the first place.

“The concern was about the massage parlors, the tattoo parlors and stuff like that,” said Trustee Tony Delaurentis. “Not beauty shops.”

Grady-Perovich, referring to a printed copy of the ordinance in question, affirmed that hair salons and nail salons were indeed included. She wondered if restrictions were put on such service entities because they pay sales tax only on products they sell, such as nail polish and shampoo, so the revenue they contribute to the Village is limited.

Minutes from the March 5, 2013, Board meeting explain simply that “…this ordinance ensures that we have a good mix of businesses, both retail and service, for our residents.”

Clock Tower Plaza is a professional office building located at 3330 181st Place. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Though much of the conversation centered on the business suites model and its potential benefits, there are currently no ordinances restricting business suites or professional suites from opening in Lansing. In fact, Lansing already has professional buildings as part of its business mix—the Clock Tower Plaza (3330 181st Place) is one example; the Walker Building (18225 Burnham Avenue) is another.

Podgorski makes a distinction between professional office buildings such as Clock Tower and professional suites: “The professional suite concept features smaller individual suites approximately 100–200 square feet in size. This is the most significant difference. Offices in professional office buildings are larger than that.”

Podgorski’s August 17 memo to the Village Board proposed, “…to amend Section 16-47 of the code of ordinances, and exempt business owners that operate within the confines of a professional suite from the business license limits on licenses found in this section.”

Trustees have two weeks to consider the advantages and disadvantages of allowing current or new professional suites to disregard the limits set forth in Ordinance 13-10. Changes may be voted on at the September 4 Board meeting.

Residents and business owners who want to express opinions about this proposed change (or other municipal matters) are invited to contact their representatives directly:

Village Board meetings and Committee of the Whole meetings take place at the Municipal Court Complex (the police station) at 2710 170th Street on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 4, at 7:00pm.


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. The board needs to revisit the NabiSpa they used to occupy space one Torrence Avenue. It was not just a massage parlor! Review the police reports and sting operation that was done. The village had no idea what was going on in that business. Businesses across the street noticed questionable activity when patrons were standing by the side door waiting to be brought in when there was a front door no one used. Once reported the investigation began and was soon shut down as it was nothing but illegal and only men went in! Lansing needs nothing like this and the people who would frequent a place like it!

  2. Dan Podgorski said that removing this restriction would “help him fill a building” that a potential business owner with salon experience is interested in. Dan are you saying this is your property to fill?

    As Kris said, why not help our established businesses by steering newcomers with needs to already existing options. Why try to appease a potential business wish list when we can fill that need without changing our rules. Before ever entertaining their request and jumping to undo our ordinances, it would have showed great restraint and consideration to have asked those in a position to advise. Lansing prompts cooperation with the Police Department by fostering a relationship. Does the Village include them in matters such as these. Did you ever think to talk with them? There are policemen that have been in that department through many administrations. They are our eyes and ears and every day they have to deal with the decisions that affect us all. Please don’t justify this potential business you want to change an ordinance for as different then the last incident like it couldn’t happen again.

    If ‘you’ are having trouble filling the space, would it be possible to restructure the facility to encourage a business that you would not have to change good rules that are in place for a reason?

    If we bend the rules to accommodate individual interests, we as a town will forever attract that which is not in the best interest of everyone. Bottom line, ordinances are on the books because something happened to put them there. They protect Lansing and her residents. Why would you want to disturb this? Thank God Lansing residents such as Deborah have a long memory. I am sure you will agree Dan, that we would rather be remembered for the positive aspects of our town than failing to see the writing on the wall.

    Please, listen to the all those who have witnessed such an establishment fall by the wayside due to criminal activity. I wonder if the profits out-weighed the loss last time around. My guess is that it cost Lansing. Changing the ordinance is again a quick fix. To allow this, however remote for the benefit of the doubt, is too high a price to pay when the Village is trying hard to provide an environment where people would see Lansing as a great place to call home. A home free of that which has the possibility of appealing to undesirable influences and all that that implies.

    Dan, if you were able to change the ordinance allowing this concept and the worst happened, would you then have to change the ordinance back to protect us from it ever happening again? I am sure that is what happened to get it on the books as it is written. I hope this makes sense enough for you to just say no to an ordinance change.

    Thank you to Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich, and others like her that are willing to keep our best interest in heart.

    To God be the Glory.

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