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Forsyth Countys proposed massage parlor law on hold until next month

FORSYTH COUNTY — A proposed crackdown on illegal businesses operating as legitimate massage parlors and spas was aired — but not enacted — Thursday during the Forsyth County commission’s meeting.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard told officials he had recently met with representatives of massage businesses and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office to craft rules that would make it tougher for illegal businesses, but minimize the harm to legitimate ones.

“We are attempting to address what we are considering those illicit activities that sometimes disguise themselves as legitimate activities,” he said.

One of the more significant changes, according to Jarrard, would be shifting the matter out of the county’s adult entertainment ordinance, which had been controversial to businesses.

“It is absolutely separate section of the code,” he said. “In fact, candidly, if you were to look up the code online it would fall between … our business regulatory ordinances.”

Other items removed from the original version of the proposal include no longer having a cap on the number of licenses required, taking away setbacks for the businesses and eliminating an agreement that would have businesses pay up to $15,000 for violations.

“There has been a lot of effort to respond to the community and make changes that sort of make this an easier pill to swallow,” Jarrard said. “Whenever an industry is regulated, there is going to be some discomfort. I don’t care if you’re acting perfectly, it’s still a little challenging. ”

The commission will hold another public hearing on the issue Nov. 5.  A separate item, the adoption of regulatory fees for the massage ordinance, was also postponed until then.


Conservation subdivision OK’d


Also during their meeting Thursday, the commission voted 5-0 to approve the rezoning of 189 acres on Watson and Tribble roads from agricultural district, or A1, and single family residential, Res-2, to single family residential district Res 3 for 302 residential lots.

The site is just north of Canton Highway (Hwy. 20) in west Forsyth.

It is the first conservation development approved in about a decade, officials said, and about 44 percent of the property will be used for bodies of water, tennis courts and walking trails.


Number of swine defined


The commission also unanimously decided that three little — or big — pigs were the maximum allowed to be on a farm requesting a conditional use permit to raise swine.

In a year, the matter will come before for the county’s planning board for an update.

Under the county’s current unified development code, pigs and hogs are not included in the county’s definition of livestock, thus requiring the conditional use permit.