Soon it will be easier for some companies to offer massage services in Streetsboro.
The city council recently approved an ordinance amending the city’s zoning code, which would allow massage establishments on an ancillary basis to certain businesses, such as salons.
Earlier this year, Heidi Ott, owner of A Mode of Expression, approached city council about her concerns about city regulations, which she said would prohibit her from offering massage services when she moved to a location. larger space on Highway 14. The code states that “massage establishments” are conditionally permitted, but cannot be located within 500 feet of churches, schools, daycares, playgrounds, parks, theaters, restaurants and centers for teenagers.
Ott’s new location is in the same building as Dairy Queen, and there are several restaurants nearby, including Jim’s Open Kitchen Too, which has faced a zoning battle.
The code was drawn up in 1981, at a time when “massage parlors” were often seen as a cover for prostitution. Now, massage is a typical service offered in spas, salons, and even medical and chiropractic offices.
Planning director John Cieszkowski said the new regulations would allow massage as long as it wasn’t the primary purpose of the business. The code would allow salons like Ott’s to offer spa services. Businesses would be permitted in the city’s business district, as well as in “transitional commercial” districts. Only two plots in the city are zoned “BT”, including one CVS.
“They would no longer be subject to whereabouts requirements,” he said.
When the city’s planning commission reviewed the proposal this spring, licensed massage therapists said the city must let them operate their businesses, even if they don’t co-locate with another business.
Jamie Bush-Fasco told the commission that she has operated Healing Hands for years at the Streetsboro Professional Building, which is adjacent to Buffalo Wild Wings.
Cieszkowski said he was not sure which company came in first, but said Bush-Fasco has a conditional use permit. Once such a permit is obtained, he said, it cannot be revoked if a restaurant or other similar use moves next door.
“Zoning is not going back,” he said. “It just keeps on going.”
Bush-Fasco said she has been in business since 2012 and that the existence of Buffalo Wild Wings was never an issue when she obtained her conditional use license.
“I think the fact that I’m in a place that has been laid out as a medical building and has had medical uses for years may have something to do with it,” she said.
The law comes into force on July 14, 30 days after it was signed by Mayor Glenn Broska.