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Grayslake massage therapists win zoning case

Village Grayslake trustees decided adjust their zoning ordinance relating massage therapy establishments by allowing their use any zoning classificatibased upissuance

Village of Grayslake trustees decided to adjust their zoning ordinance relating to massage therapy establishments by allowing their use in any zoning classification based upon issuance of a special use permit. | Sun-Times Media File

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Updated: March 14, 2014 8:07AM

GRAYSLAKE — After listening to nearly an hour of testimony from ten licensed massage therapists Tuesday night, Village trustees decided to adjust their zoning ordinance relating to massage therapy establishments by allowing their use in any zoning classification based upon issuance of a special-use permit.

The trustees also amended the ordinance to allow massage establishments in all non-residential zones as an accessory use to a licensed medical facility. The use must conform to the zoning standards for accessory uses, and the medical facility would be the established licensee.

There would be no change for current massage practitioner-establishments now operating in conformance to the municipal codes.

The massage therapists broke into applause following the board’s decision.

At a board meeting two weeks ago, the trustees debated a report from their Plan Commission-Zoning Board of Appeals that called for tightening their massage therapy ordinance with a lengthy list of suggested reforms.

One of the most controversial with the local massage professionals was a recommendation that licensed massages should not be given in residential zones. Some of the commissioners believed this could lead to unsavory or illegal practices.

However, as Mayor Rhett Taylor explained to the board and the attending practitioners on Tuesday, the judicious use of a special-use permit would be a strong motivator for controlling unsavory practices.

Another zoning recommendation that the massage practitioners found objectionable was banning massage establishments within 500 feet of a school, park or church. They pointed out this was discriminatory since this criteria did not apply to other health professions within the village. The board unanimously agreed.

Grayslake practitioner Julie Hansa was one who objected to the 500-foot limit criteria. She thanked the board for their change in position, and their desire to protect both the profession and the community from those rare “bad apples” found in many professions who sully their calling.

Susan Barg, another Grayslake licensed massage practitioner, also thanked the board for their diligent policing and respect for the profession.

“Our State of Illinois licensing, and certification by our national association, require 750 hours of continuing education and training,” she said.

Kim Henny, a licensed physical therapist, attended the board meeting to show support for her medical colleagues.

“I’m against placing discriminatory rules singling out these industrious ladies while the bad apples run free. I appreciate the sensitivity that the board has extended to them here tonight,” she said.

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