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Rosemount is rewriting ordinance to allow massage therapy practices

Published By: Jeff Mores, Rosemount TownPages

While the Rosemount City Council did not vote at its Tuesday meeting, all signs indicate the city of Rosemount will rewrite its ordinances to allow individuals to practice massage within city limits. The council is also leaning toward allowing individuals who are licensed and practicing massage therapy within city limits to make house calls.

For the past year, the city council and city staff have been considering the change. Massage therapy practices are not currently allowed in Rosemount because, years ago, the city wanted to protect itself against individuals who would open such practices as a front for prostitution. Massage therapy has come a long way over the years, however, and there are now schools and organizations that offer national certification in the field.

Rosemount resident Lynette Stauffer, a certified massage and bodywork practitioner, brought the issue to the city for review. Since then, city code enforcement official Charlie O’Brien and Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken have researched the policies in place in other communities. More and more communities are rewriting their ordinances to allow massage therapy practices.

On Tuesday, the city council discussed the topic and eventually agreed a change is necessary. Council members agreed with Kalstabakken that individuals who have either earned accreditation from a national organization or have logged more than 500 hours at an accredited massage therapy school should be allowed the opportunity to practice with city limits. Such individuals would be required to set up a home base for their business, either in a storefront or in their home.

The real debate took place when the question was posed, “Should the city allow massage therapists to travel to a client’s home to provide their services?” “I look at this as a public safety issue,” council member Mary Riley said. Riley said she was concerned a crime could be committed against a massage therapist if they were allowed to make house calls. She also expressed a need to ensure crimes would not be committed against residents who would welcome the therapists into their homes.

After a long discussion, many on the council were agreed house calls could be allowed provided a physician recommended the massage therapy. Council member Kim Shoe-Corrigan said she understood Riley’s concerns, but questioned whether the council would be overstepping its boundaries by limiting such business opportunities. “I don’t think we should limit that part of a business by requiring a doctor’s recommendation,” Shoe-Corrigan said. “There’s a risk you take in any business. At what point is government interfering too much?”

Council member mark DeBettignies followed Shoe-Corrigan’s comments up with his own opinion on the situation. “I don’t know if we should be limiting a business operator from offering their services,” DeBettignies said. “Where does it stop? Are we going to limit physicians from making house calls?” According to Kalstabakken, Lakeville allows massage therapists to make house calls, but other communities, including Burnsville, Hastings and Apple Valley, do not. By the end of the discussion, council was leaning toward allowing those therapists who were licensed and operated a practice in the city to make house calls, but only within city limits.

The next step
Council instructed Kalstabakken to rewrite the ordinance accordingly and bring it back to the council at its next meeting for a second reading and a vote. The next council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3 at Rosemount City Hall.