Village Board to vote on massage business special use Dec. 1

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Healthy Foot Spa—formerly Health Foot Massage—is located at 3319 Ridge Road in Lansing. The Village Board approved a special use for the business on Dec. 1. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Village Board asks questions, will vote on Healthy Foot Spa massage business

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (November 24, 2020) – The Lansing Village Board of Trustees is considering granting a special use permit to Healthy Foot Spa at 3319 Ridge Road. The Board asked questions of owner Lina Dong at its November 17 Committee of the Whole Meeting to help inform its decision on December 1.

The Planning and Zoning Board approved a recommendation to the Lansing Village Board on August 12 to grant a special use permit to the business.

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.

In August, Dong’s attorney and translator Jun Wang 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.

At the Village Board’s November 17 Committee of the Whole meeting, Wang was not present, and Dong’s son served as her translator.

 

Massage
Lina Dong (left) appeared before the Village Board on Nov. 17 to answer questions about her special use request for her massage business Healthy Foot Spa. Her son translated for her. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Massage licensure questions

Trustee Brian Hardy started questions on November 17 by asking Dong about the licensure of her employees.

Illinois requires massage therapists to have a license, and discussion at the Planning and Zoning August 12 meeting raised questions about licensure. At that time, it was determined that two massage therapists working at the spa were not licensed. Dong said those therapists were in the process of getting their licenses and not actively involved in massage duties.

At that meeting, Commissioner Grace Bazylewski had visited the business and had seen someone other than Dong working. She asked if that person had a massage license. Dong’s attorney 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.”

At the end of deliberation, the Planning and Zoning Board voted 5-1 in favor of a resolution stating, “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.” Commissioner Cathy Hallow provided the dissenting vote.

At the November 17 meeting, Hardy said, “That’s a big question for me, to make sure that your mother’s employees that are doing massages have licenses.”

Dong’s son, speaking on Dong’s behalf, said the unlicensed employees were laid off and replaced by a new employee that is properly licensed. Village Trustees indicated they had information about three licensed employees—Dong, another licensed therapist, and the newly hired therapist.

Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich asked Dong if she planned on acupuncture services, a service that requires a special license. This point was one discussed at the Planning and Zoning meeting, and 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. Dong confirmed that her business will not be providing acupuncture services.

Renewal Questions

Hardy also asked about the renewal process for the three licenses on file for Dong and her employees, all of which are set to expire at the end of the year. The licenses renew every two years, a process which Dong’s son said takes ten days.

Trustee Mike Fish pointed out that state agencies might be slowing down due to COVID-19, and asked if there was a grace period in-between licenses that Dong could take advantage of. Dong’s son said Dong planned to submit her renewal in the middle of December, allowing for a ten-day turnaround. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website says that a renewed applicant’s license will be mailed “a few days” after completion of online renewal.

Next steps

The Village Board will vote to approve a special use permit for Healthy Foot Spa at its next meeting on December 1. Contact information for Village trustees is available on the Village’s website.

The Village Board will vote on December 1 to approve or deny the special use permit request of Lina Dong for her massage business Healthy Foot Spa, located at 3319 Ridge Road. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

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