Massage business special use permit to come before Village Board

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Planning and Zoning recommendation comes after discussion, questions

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (August 20, 2020) – The Planning and Zoning Board approved a recommendation to the Lansing Village Board on August 12 to grant a special use permit to Healthy Foot Spa at 3319 Ridge Road. The vote passed 5-1 with Commissioner Cathy Hallow dissenting.

Lansing resident Maureen Grady-Perovich was present at the meeting and made a public comment opposing the decision.

Change in ownership

The massage business, which is currently called Health Foot Massage and has a prominent storefront along Ridge Road, is now owned by Lina Dong. According to the Lansing’s Code of Ordinances, foot and body massage businesses must acquire a special use permit before beginning operations or as a result of a change in ownership. Dong also wants to change the business’s name to Healthy Foot Spa.

Jun Wang served as Dong’s attorney and translator during last Wednesday’s Planning and Zoning Board meeting and briefly outlined Dong’s goal in having her name put on the business license as the owner. He emphasized that no other changes were being requested and the business would continue to operate as it has been.

According to Wang, Dong began the process of changing over ownership in December of 2019. Wang said that although Dong “took over” the business in 2017, she was unable to start the ownership process at that time because she did not have a license for massage therapy. Wang said Health Foot Massage has been in business in Lansing since 2014.

Attorney Jun Wang (foregroud, left) speaks with his clients Lina Dong and her husband Kun Li before the Planning and Zoning Board meeting last Wednesday. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Acupuncture questions

Attorney Erin Blake, the Village’s legal representative at Wednesday’s meeting, said acupuncture was referenced on Health Foot Massage’s website, a service that requires its own license apart from a massage therapy license. Wang said that Dong would not be providing acupuncture services. The Lansing Journal’s review of Dong’s website found that “acupuncture points” are referenced on her website, which are points in muscle tissue that are sensitive to pressure, and are not always equated with an acupuncture massage.

Licensure questions

Blake also pointed out that there were three employees mentioned in the packet of information provided to the Planning and Zoning Board—all of whom are required by the State of Illinois to have massage therapist licenses in order to legally provide massage services. Commissioner Grace Bazylewski asked Wang if all his client’s employees were properly licensed, and he said, “I believe the [Village] attorney said they all have the massage license.”

Blake said only two massage licenses were included in the information provided to the Village. Wang consulted with his client and then said, “They have three employees. One currently has a license and two are in the process of getting a license.” Wang said it would take about six months for Dong’s two unlicensed employees to obtain their licenses, and that during that time those employees would be helping out and not actively performing massages.

Bazylewski had visited the business earlier that day and had seen someone other than Dong working. She asked if that person had a massage license. Wang conferred with Dong and said, “What you saw today, they don’t have a license. The girl who was working didn’t have a license.”

Motion to recommend and discussion

Before the Planning and Zoning Board took a vote, Commissioner Anthony DeLaurentis suggested that the motion to approve should include a contingency that all employees of the business obtain their massage therapist licenses.

Discussion then took place centering around the fact that only two of the four people working at Healthy Foot Spa are licensed. “Everyone should be licensed to get a special use,” Commissioner Cathy Hallow said.

“They do have people that are licensed to perform those massages,” Commissioner Tom McSwiggan responded, referring to Dong, who has a license, and one of her three employees, who is also licensed.

“The inspectors and the police would enforce the licensure issue. So before your board now is whether or not you’ll allow the special use permit, which is, will you allow foot massages in the Lansing business district, underneath the circumstances and information you have in front of you,” said Village Attorney Blake. She said that she and the Village could work with Healthy Foot Spa in the future to make sure the correct licensure is in place.

Chairman Steve Kasper read the amended motion: “We recommend to the [Village] Board that they grant a special use for a foot and body massage parlor—and all workers will be state-licensed in six months—to be located at 3319 Ridge Road.”

Hallow was the only commissioner to vote against the motion.

The Planning and Zoning Board voted August 12 to recommend that the Village Board of Trustees approve a special use for a massage business at 3319 Ridge Road. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Public comment and next steps

Maureen Grady-Perovich made a public comment at the end of the meeting, speaking in her role as a Lansing resident and not as a Village Trustee. She said, “I have concerns about anyone doing anything unless they’re already licensed. So I’m not giving them a six-month grace period to get a license. That’s a problem.”

Dong’s special use permit for Healthy Foot Spa will come before the Village Board of Trustees during its September 1st meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. at the Police and Court Complex (Lansing Police Department), 2710 170th Street, Lansing. The public is welcome to attend Village Board meetings, as long as social distancing and facial covering regulations are observed.

1 COMMENT

  1. I have personally been there many times. Nothing wrong with having all of the I s dotted and the T s crossed, as it were.
    I am glad that the village cares enough and puts in the oversight, and has openness with the community , to do this
    Makes me feel secure about the integrity of businesses in this great little village

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