New massage operations on hold in Spring Lake Park

The Spring Lake Park City Council has approved an ordinance that places a six-month moratorium on issuing licenses for massage therapy operations. The move also applies to the issuing of certificates of occupancy for such businesses.

The moratorium will provide the city time to research and determine standards for therapeutic massage operators.

“The language is vague and out of date,” said Daniel Buchholtz, assistant to the city administrator, who presented the ordinance proposal at the council’s June 3 meeting.

If after six months city staff needs more time for research, the ordinance calls for extending the moratorium. A time frame was not given for an extension.

The existing language in the city code would have prevented “effective regulation of this evolving business in a way that protects the health, safety and welfare of Spring Lake Park residents,” according to a May 30 memo Buchholtz sent to Mayor Cindy Hansen and council members.

About two licensed massage therapists now work in Spring Lake Park in conjunction with a chiropractor or a hair stylist, said Barb Nelson, city administrator.

The city recently received an inquiry into requirements for operating therapeutic massage therapy.

Spring Lake Park wants to ensure a massage therapist has received training from an accredited training institution and that the therapist has undergone rigorous training, Buchholtz said in a phone interview.

“We want to do the best we can to protect our residents, ensuring we have competent practitioners,” he said.

The council approved the ordinance on a 3-0 vote. Councilmembers Bill Nash and Bob Nelson were not in attendance.

Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]