HomeNews & Events ­ News Archive ­ 2014 News ­ City of Johns Creek revises massage and spa establishment ordinance

City of Johns Creek revises massage and spa establishment ordinance

July 15, 2014

Massage OrdinanceIn an effort to help prevent unlicensed or illegal massage, prostitution and related sex crimes within its City, the Johns Creek City Council voted July 14 to amend its municipal code, defining what is and isn't a legal massage or spa establishment, and refining the licensing requirements and regulations of massage and spa establishments and their employees in the City.

"Anyone who practices massage therapy without a license in our City is a public nuisance and harmful to the public health, safety and welfare of our community," said Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker. "Regionally, the problem of human trafficking is severe, and often there's a connection with illegal massage businesses. We're doing our part to counteract this problem."

For over a year, city officials, city staff and representatives of licensed massage therapists worked together to craft the amended ordinance.

"While the overall purpose is to crack down on illegal activities in the City, there is no intent for the amended ordinance to hinder legitimate massage and spa businesses," said Bodker.

"By defining more clearly what is and isn't a legal massage or spa establishment, we will help distinguish the difference for our citizens who want to take advantage of the health benefits provided by licensed massage therapists."

Highlights of the amended ordinance (Chapter 22, Article III, Sec. 22, 46-56):
  • The ordinance does not impose additional licensing regulations on state licensed massage therapists, but rather regulates massage establishments themselves and their employees that are not state licensed.
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  • Massage establishments may be exempted from certain provisions of the ordinance where the licensed massage therapist has four or more years of experience or where the establishment is part of a corporate chain or franchise.
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  • Number of licensed massage/spa establishments in the City limited to no more than 24 at one time.
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  • Hours of operation for all massage and spa establishments: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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  • Establishment of any massage or spa business must be at least 300 feet from Georgia Highway 141/Medlock Bridge Road and at least 300 feet from any parcel occupied by a house of worship, public or private elementary or secondary school, public park, state-licensed day care facility, or any residence.
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  • Massage and spa establishments must post and maintain a copy of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations' human trafficking notice in employee break rooms or where other employee notices are posted.
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  • Minors (persons under age 18) are not allowed in massage or spa establishment unless accompanied by his/her parent or legal guardian.
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  • Establishment, its owners and managers must be in compliance with all City codes and the City's licensing requirements.
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  • Location used by the establishment must be free from association with any unlawful activity for the last 12 months, including revoking of a prior license.
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  • License applicant must either be the owner of the premises where establishment will be operated, or the lease holder for the premises during the license period.
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  • Periodic, reasonable inspections of massage and spa establishments by city inspectors to assure compliance of all regulations are authorized.
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  • Massage and spa establishments must maintain correct and accurate records on each service provided and up-to-date contact information for employees on file on the premises.