By Bob Balgemann, REPORTER

 There now are regulations on the books for massage parlors and shooting ranges.

The Village Board twice voted 6-1, with Trustee James Kidd dissenting both times, to approve both sets of amendments to the Zoning Ordinance at its Nov. 7 meeting. Previously, there were no rules governing such business. Regulations were proposed by staff after the Village received inquiries about applying to open an indoor shooting range. Trustee Kidd was concerned about the ordinances giving the Village permission to drop by a business, unannounced, to check out what was happening inside. “Are there any other businesses in town where this is allowed?” he asked. Economic Development Director James Richter II replied that the intent was to put businesses on notice that the Village can come by at any time and inspect the premises. “That is not uncommon in the government circle,” Village Administrator Tim Savage advised. And Village Attorney Tom Green pointed out a Village enforcement person could come into a massage parlor and look around. “They have a right to do this,” he said. “It’s a public place.” He continued that the Village doesn’t state it’s going to do that in a liquor store, but it does. “When Police Officers go in to check out the place, they sometimes do stings to be sure the bar isn’t selling liquor to minors. It’s more of a notice than a new right.” But Kidd persisted, wondering which municipalities currently go into businesses unannounced. “I could not find one,” he said. “Might this be a warning for all businesses going forward, that we might be doing this?”

Discussion Off Track

Mayor Jerry Bolin tried to get the conversation back on track, saying, “Our discussion is on massage uses, second reading, only.” Then Savage provided an example. He said there are municipalities with Fire Departments that do unannounced inspections, to make sure safety regulations are being followed. “So, yes, the answer is yes, there are municipalities that do this,” he said. “It just seems that we are overstepping our boundaries,” Kidd said. “I don’t think that’s appropriate.” He then raised the possibility of the Village being sued, because this standard isn’t applied to businesses across the board.

Attorney Green didn’t think the Village had any exposure or liability for a lawsuit. Still, “anybody can sue anybody for anything,” he said. And so it could happen. But he added, “The point is we put you on notice that we could walk through your facility. We have the right to walk through your facility, whether we put you on notice or not. I don’t believe any successful litigation could be lodged against the Village, based on these provisions.” After that 6-1 vote there was an identical vote for approval of regulations for indoor shooting ranges.

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