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Spa owners in Alpharetta ask city council to clarify language of new ordinance
by Rachel Kellogg
July 10, 2013 12:17 PM | 2356 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an attempt to crack down on prostitution in spas within the city, Alpharetta city council members were slated to vote on a new massage therapy ordinance last Monday.

But the latest draft of the law was met with some protest from local spa owners and masseurs, leading to a deferral on the vote until the July 15 council meeting.

One area of concern for local spa owner Duane Goodwin is the wording of the ordinance regarding employees to have work permits.

“I’m the owner, I run that business, I take responsibility for it, and I hold my people my accountable and I know other owners would feel the same way,” he said, asking if all of his employees needed to have a work permit. “Other retail establishments aren‘t required to do this.”

Goodwin also said the ordinance does not address time frames for the administrative guidelines outlined, including the work permit requirement.

“This is a high-turnover position … and there are no outlines that say how often and when we’re supposed to do that, how we’re supposed to do it,” he said. “There’s no reference in terms of grandfathering for those of us who have been before this council in the last few years.”

Morning Star, a local massage therapist, said she took issue with some of the wording in the first reading of the ordinance, which she said was “insulting” in its likening of all massage therapy to prostitution.

“There are good people out here that do massage. It’s therapeutic and it helps people every day,” she said.

She thanked council for revising the wording but said the law still needed to be clarified in certain places.

City council members agreed, voting 4-0 to table the issue until Monday.

Mayor David Belle Isle and Councilman Jim Gilvin were not present at the meeting, and Councilman Michael Cross refrained from voting.

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