Columbia County, GA (WJBF) – A group of business owners in Columbia County says they are being unfairly targeted by the Board of commissioners.
Tuesday night the commission met to discuss a new ordinance that would limit the amount of Massage therapists in Columbia County, among other things.
“This is specifically for some reason just targeting massage therapy,” therapist, Dianna Kendrick.
A group of Columbia County business owners are feeling slighted by the commission’s agenda to limit massage therapy businesses in the area.
“I am a bit stunned that we have progressed from a belief in the free market controlling the factors of production, to needing to control the number of factors of production from a government standpoint,” one person told the Board.
The proposed ordinance would put 2 miles between each massage therapy business. It would limit their hours of operation and demand their financial and bank statements. It would also make it mandatory that once the operator’s license is approved they have 6 months to get into business.
“My question would be, are you guys limiting nail salons, hair salons, restaurants, car dealerships, so is this going to go forward to all of these businesses, or is it just massage therapy is going to be targeted,” Kendrick said.
Leigh Ann Keels owns Augusta School of Massage. She worries if her students can’t open a business in Columbia County, because of the 2 mile radius, she won’t meet her gainful employment required by the state.
“We have to have a percentage of students that find viable employment when they graduate, and so with this radius you’re making it very difficult for a new therapist start their own business,” she said to the Commissioners.
While Columbia County continues to grow, these therapists are wondering why they have to limit their business.
“Many people move to Columbia County, it’s a growing county and with that growth, we certainly don’t want to stunt our business growth, because of a new ordinance,” Keels said.
The ordinance is being held until the commission meets again on May 17th. We’ll continue to follow this story and keep you updated with the latest information.