A temporary halt in new massage business licenses will extend through next month in Grayslake as officials contemplate new regulations.
In a recent nonvoting session, the Grayslake village board endorsed some recommendations from the advisory plan commission/zoning board of appeals regarding more specific controls over future massage businesses. Current massage operations wouldn't be affected.
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Mayor Rhett Taylor said state law doesn't provide many options to municipalities seeking to control massage businesses.
"We can control land usage," Taylor said, "and so this is a mechanism for making certain that when these (massage) licenses are issued, they're issued in a way that is for the best health and safety of the community."
Grayslake's six-month moratorium on new massage operations had been set to expire Friday, Jan. 31, until trustees recently voted for the extension through February. That move came after village officials last May revoked the business license of Kyoto Spa and Massage on Route 83, where police say two women were charged with prostitution after an undercover operation.
Documents obtained through a Daily Herald Freedom of Information Act request say Grayslake police received "several complaints that sexual favors for money were being offered to clients of the Kyoto Spa during the provision of massage services." The complaints were recorded before police initiated the undercover investigation at the business in March 2013.
Under the new regulations recommended by the Grayslake plan commission/zoning board of appeals, a massage operation would be allowed in all nonresidential areas as an accessory use to a state-licensed medical facility. Massage as a primary business also would be allowed in all nonresidential areas if a special-use permit is granted -- a requirement officials said would give greater oversight to the village board.
Massage businesses wouldn't be allowed within 500 feet of a school, park or place of worship unless village trustees granted a special-use permit. The village board eventually will hold a formal vote on the plan commission/zoning board of appeals recommendations.
An original recommendation to ban massage operations in residential areas was declined. Instead, the village board agreed the advisory plan commission/zoning board of appeals should craft regulations for home-based massage businesses that may want to open in Grayslake.
Trustee Amy Edwards said she did not see a reason to prevent someone running a licensed massage business at home.
"I guess I kind of feel like if you're going to run an illicit business from your home, why bother to get a permit or something?" Edwards said. "Why wouldn't you just try to fly under the radar."