Alpharetta tightens regulations for massage and spa businesses

Money.com ranked the 50 best places to live in America based on several factors. Alpharetta was the highest ranked Georgia city, checking in at No. 24. Photo: For the AJC
Money.com ranked the 50 best places to live in America based on several factors. Alpharetta was the highest ranked Georgia city, checking in at No. 24. Photo: For the AJC

Alpharetta is working to tighten regulations for massage and spa businesses, preventing illegal activity and making city requirements more clear to those business owners when they apply for licenses.

During a City Council meeting on Tuesday, Community Development Director Kathi Cook said that with better control measures in place, the city can be comfortable allowing more than 20 massage and spa businesses to operate. The current ordinances limit the number of establishments to that number.

The ordinance changes would also apply to body massage therapy businesses and day spas that might include nail and waxing salons that require customers to disrobe. Nail salons that do not provide additional services that would require a customer to disrobe would not be included in the ordinance.

Licensing regulations for these businesses have differed across Alpharetta departments but Cook has worked to make city codes the same for the businesses since last October when Community Development took over licensing. Both Community Development and Code Enforcement now manage licensing and code regulations of massage and spa services. The Public Safety department had been in charge of licensing.

During a public hearing about changes to the laws, City Council members agreed that massage therapy businesses would not be allowed to operate within 2,000 feet of each other. That requirement was already in place for spas.

“There are exemptions for massage therapy businesses associated with a chiropractor or a doctor,” Cook said. “It’s not considered a massage therapy business.”

Under the proposed changes, both massage and spa establishments will be required to be 300 feet from Old Milton Parkway, Main Street, and parcels of land where there is a church, an elementary or middle school, daycare center, public park, or a home.

City Council will hear another reading of the proposed changes to ordinances on Aug. 10 and a vote is expected.