Support Us in Addressing Unfair Targeting of Herndon Massage Therapists
Updated: Jan 28
Quick Links (Updated 1/28/2022):
Email the Town Clerk and Town Council a statement of support.. You can write your own or use this template to get started: Mayor Olem, Vice Mayor del Aguila, Town Councilmember and Town Clerk, I am a (resident/business owner/association member) in the Town of Herndon at (residential and/or business address). I support massage therapists being treated equitably in the Town of Herndon. Business license fees for massage therapists should be same fees as other businesses. Please prioritize this as a work session agenda item, public hearing and vote immediately. Correcting this not just for 2023 and beyond, but also correcting immediate for this year, 2022, is an important step to keeping our Town of Herndon Massage Therapists in our town and showcasing that our town supports our small businesses. Sincerely, (Name) (Status as as Town of Herndon Resident and/or Business Owner) (Business or Organization name, if applicable) (Residential and/or Business Address)
Review Town Council Public Hearing recording from Tuesday 1/25/2022 (see below for timestamps)
Review our Concerns and the State/Local Code of Laws that apply
Watch, like and comment on our conversation with the Town of Herndon Vice Mayor (discussion starts at the 2 minute 15 second mark).
Watch Town Councilmember Signe Friedrichs bring our concerns to the recent Town Council Work Session. (Signe begins the discussion on this around the 2:06:00 mark).
1/28/22 Update: When a community stands up for you and your profession, literally!!!
As many of you know, Tuesday January 25th, we spoke to a supportive Town Council during general public comments at the Town Council Public Hearing regarding the unfair business license fees from 1992 uncovered during a recent audit, that are targeting Massage therapists. We still need support to ensure actions to rectify this move swiftly. But it is good to here the town council and town staff is dedicated to working on this.
Here are the time stamps, so you can watch the portions of the meeting where our cause was mentioned.
@ 4:50 mark - mayor speaks about business license fee concerns
@ 6:15 mark - Mayor asks eligible massage therapists to file an appeal, referencing Code 30-217
@ 7:43 mark - comments from town council (All but one council member present spoke and stated a commitment to working on solutions for us. Note: in rushing to connect with everyone, we had not yet connected with that Councilmember who didn't speak. We have since reached out to connect.)
@ 14:33 - 43:30 marks: comments from audience starts and ends with massage license fee comments with 3 speeding comments in between.
Speakers of behalf of all of those in attendance and others who were unable to attend included Meg Donnelly, LMT; Casey White, LMT; Netta Chiorello, LMT (who in addition to reading her statement reads the statement of support from John Boylan Interim President of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce; Tess Rollins - prominent community member; Jessica Drummond, LMT; Charles Williams Charles Williams, concerned community member; Kerri Bundy, LMT.
Additionally to respect the time of town council and audience there to speak on other agenda items at the public hearing, 18 others stood in support and were counted into the public record as supporters of our statements. (please assist me by tag yourself and others in the audience).
Lastly, the Town Clerk received many comments for the record prior to the session, to showcase support for us from those who couldn’t attend in person.
We still have quite a fight ahead us, as forcing us into an appeal for this year still creates an undue burden, on language which doesn’t apply to us. But this is a start.
Recording available at: bit.ly/herndoncouncil0125
Overview: The Town of Herndon (TOH) Finance Director is interpreting the recently uncovered code regarding extra fees for “massage parlors” to apply to all massage therapy establishments in the TOH, resulting in an adjustment in business license fees due. Business license fees for massage therapy business owners that were previously taxed at the same rates as all other business (most paid from $30 or $50 annually, based on income) are now being charged $1000 annually, regardless of sales.
Massage therapists are seen by the Commonwealth of Virginia as allied health professionals, licensed by the Department of Health Professionals, Board of Nursing. We are seen under the Town of Herndon zoning code as health care services and facilities.
Massage therapists began being regulated in 1996 with certification and have been a licensed profession in Virginia since 2016.
The terms massage therapy and massage therapist are defined and protected in Virginia code. The term massage parlor is not a defined term in Virginia law, Fairfax County or Town of Herndon code.
The term massage parlor, used in the recently uncovered code, is antiquated language that is now used as a euphemism for sex work at best, and human trafficking at worst. It is NOT massage therapy.
Links to all the code that relates back to massage therapists and massage therapy at the state, county and town level that prove our case, can be found here.
Massage therapy licensure is now highly regulated, highly professional and a highly regarded profession. Our licensure requires:
at least 500 hours of initial training through a SCHEV certified school
passing of the Federation of Massage Therapy Boards Exam (MBLex)
background check and approval by Virginia Department of Health Professional’s Board of Nursing, and its five member Massage Advisory Board
a minimum of 24 continuing education hours, including an ethics course, for every biennial renewal
an annual Fairfax County Massage Therapist Permit (per therapist)
an annual Fairfax County Massage Establishment Permit (per establishment),
Town of Herndon Business business license
Annual background checks at the County and Town level
For all the above reasons, our massage therapy businesses should not be charged as massage parlors. They are health care services, as defined in Town of Herndon zoning laws, and by the Virginia Department of Health Professionals and Board of Nursing, and should be treated as such for our business license fees as well. Please review ways included below that you can support our case to have these fees revoked, not just through code change for future years, but for immediate change for 2022.
Important Town Council Meeting to Attend
For those licensed massage therapists in the Town of Herndon who joined our call on Friday, thank you supporting our work to have the unfair business license fee increase revoked immediately. Below you will find many of the resources and next steps we discussed during that call. For all Town of Herndon licensed massage therapists, business owners, residents and community leaders, please come support us at the Town of Herndon Town Council meeting this coming Tuesday 1/25 at 7pm. Each of us will be able to speak during public comment to show your support for revoking this unjust, targeting business license fee.
Town Council Public Hearing Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 7:00 p.m. Location: Herndon Council Chambers, 765 Lynn Street, Herndon Members of the public are encouraged to attend the public hearing. You may also submit written testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org Legal Ad, SE #21-03 Legal Ad, Chapter 42, Parking
**Please arrive promptly, as public comment comes almost immediately. Public comments on anything not listed on the
Email the Town Clerk to showcase your support
Please email your comments of support before Tuesday 1/25 to the Town of Herndon Town Clerk at email@example.com so they can be made public record. You can write your own comments or feel free to use some of this language in the template below .
Please note that the first ask above of attending the Town Council Public Hearing and email the Town Clerk are seen as the most impactful for us. However, in addition to the above, we are asking everyone to sign our change.org petition, so we can further showcase support.