Chapter 5.18


5.18.010    Purpose.

5.18.020    Definitions.

5.18.030    Exemptions.

5.18.040    Preemption by state law.

5.18.050    License required for massage businesses.

5.18.060    License and filing fee for massage businesses.

5.18.070    Appeal process.

5.18.080    Massage business license application.

5.18.090    Reserved.

5.18.100    Renewal of license.

5.18.110    Revocation or suspension of license.

5.18.120    Operating requirements.

5.18.130    Display and transfer of license.

5.18.140    Public nuisance.

5.18.150    Penalty for violation of this chapter.

5.18.010 Purpose.

This chapter is intended to regulate massage therapists and massage therapy businesses in a manner which ensures that only approved procedures of body massage are performed. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following shall apply:

“Bodyworker” means any person who engages in massage therapy or bodywork.

“Licensee” means the owner or operator of a massage business.

“Massage” means holding, positioning, rocking, kneading, compressing, decompressing, gliding or percussing the soft tissue of the human body and applying friction to soft tissue.

“Massage business” means any business having a permanent location where any person, firm, association or corporation engages in the practice of massage as that term is defined herein.

“Massage therapists” means persons who have completed at least one hundred (100) classroom hours of instruction in the practice of massage therapy or bodywork or have practiced massage therapy or bodywork for compensation for at least two years during the five-year period immediately preceding the date of application. Evidence of completion of hours of instruction shall be satisfied upon receipt by the city clerk of a certified copy of the applicant’s academic transcript directly from the educational institution.

Massage Therapy or Bodywork.

1.    The science and healing art that uses manual actions to palpate and manipulate the soft tissue of the human body and includes determining whether massage therapy or bodywork is appropriate or contraindicated, or whether a referral to another health care practitioner is appropriate.

2.    Does not include any of the following:

a.    Making a medical diagnosis.

b.    Instructing in or prescribing rehabilitative strengthening or conditioning exercises that are within the practice of physical therapy, as defined in Section 448.50(4), Wisconsin Statutes.

“Person” means any individual, partnership, firm, association, joint stock company, corporation or combination of individuals who have formed a business relationship for the purpose of operating a massage business. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.030 Exemptions.

This chapter shall not apply to the following individuals while engaged in the personal performance of the duties of their respective professions:

A.    Medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic medicine, doctors of osteopathy, physical therapists, physicians’ assistants or nurses who are duly licensed to practice their respective professions in the state.

B.    Barbers and beauticians who are duly licensed under the laws of this state, except that this exemption shall apply solely to the massage of the neck, face, scalp, hair, hands and feet of their clients.

C.    Coaches and trainers employed by accredited high schools, colleges, or amateur, semiprofessional or professional athletic teams and acting within the scope of their employment.

D.    This chapter shall not apply to hospitals or licensed nursing homes or persons working within hospitals or licensed nursing homes who administer massage therapy under the direct supervision and control of the hospital or licensed nursing home administration, as the case may be. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.040 Preemption by state law.

This chapter is not intended to preempt state statutes which license and regulate the services offered by massage therapists or bodyworkers. More specifically, local ordinances found in this chapter will not apply where registration and licensing have been obtained by massage therapists or bodyworkers pursuant to the provisions of Sections 146.81(1)(hp), 180.1901(lm)(ag), 440.08(2)(a) 67q and subchapter X of Chapter 440 of the Wisconsin Statutes. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.050 License required for massage businesses.

It is unlawful for any person to engage in, conduct, carry on, or permit to be engaged in, conducted, or carried on, in or upon any premises in the city, the operating of a massage business as herein defined, without first having obtained an occupancy permit or any other permit required under the code and a license for a massage business from the city as provided under this chapter. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.060 License and filing fee for massage businesses.

A.    Every applicant for a license to maintain, operate, or conduct a massage business shall file an application with the city clerk. The nonrefundable fee for the initial license shall be as specified in Section 3.24.050(X) for an individual applicant or an applicant corporation with no more than three shareholders or an applicant with no more than three named lessees. An additional fee as specified in Section 3.24.050(X) shall be assessed for each additional therapist over three who are sublessees of applicant.

B.    Within ten days from the filing of an application, the city clerk shall refer copies of such application to the building inspection department and police department. The appropriate departments shall, within thirty (30) days of referral by the city clerk, inspect the premises proposed to be operated as a massage business, investigate the information contained in the application and make written recommendations to the city clerk concerning compliance with city codes and federal or state law, as may be applicable.

C.    Within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the recommendation from the aforesaid departments, the city clerk shall notify the applicant in writing that the application has been granted, denied, or held for further review. The period of such additional review shall not exceed an additional thirty (30) days unless otherwise agreed to by the applicant. Upon the conclusion of such additional review, the city clerk shall notify the applicant in writing whether the application is granted or denied.

D.    Whenever an application is denied or held for further review, the city clerk shall advise the applicant of the reasons for such action. An application may be denied by the city clerk if it is found:

1.    That the operation of the massage business, as proposed by the applicant, if permitted, would not comply with the applicable federal, state or local ordinances, rules or regulations, including but not limited to the building, fire or zoning codes of the city; or

2.    That the applicant and/or any other person who will be directly or indirectly engaged in the management and operation of a massage business has been convicted of:

a.    A felony or misdemeanor conviction for bodily harm; or any offense involving sexual misconduct including, but not limited to, prostitution, soliciting for a prostitute, keeping a place of prostitution, or other offenses involving moral turpitude; or

b.    A misdemeanor or ordinance violation based upon conduct or involvement in the massage business or similar or related business activity within the city or any other city, village or town, or had a massage business license denied, revoked or suspended by the city, or any other jurisdiction.

3.    That the applicant has made any material misstatement in the application for a license.

E.    The city clerk, at his or her discretion, may issue a massage business license to any person convicted of any of the crimes enumerated in subsections (D)(2)(a) and (b) of this section, if he or she finds that such conviction occurred at least ten years prior to the date of application, the applicant has had no subsequent convictions, and the applicant has shown evidence of rehabilitation sufficient to warrant the public trust.

F.    The failure or refusal of the applicant to promptly give any information relevant to the investigation of the application, or the applicant’s refusal or failure to appear at any reasonable time and place for examination under oath regarding said application, or the applicant’s refusal to submit to or cooperate with any inspection required by this chapter shall constitute an admission by the applicant that the applicant is ineligible for such license and shall be grounds for denial thereof. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 2331-13 § 4(X), 2013; Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.070 Appeal process.

The denial of the city clerk with regard to the issuance or renewal of any license under this chapter shall be reviewable by the legislative and licensing committee upon the written request of the applicant filed with the legislative and licensing committee within ten days of such denial. The legislative and licensing committee shall conduct a hearing to review the material provided the city clerk, or any other city department or employees or witnesses. The applicant may present any evidence relevant to the denial. The decision of the legislative and licensing committee shall be provided in writing to the applicant not more than fifteen (15) days after conclusion of the hearing. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1734 § 3 (part), 2000; Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.080 Massage business license application.

A.    The application for a license to operate a massage business shall state the proposed number of employees, hours of operation, the business name, address and telephone number of the business, and other relevant matters to the operation of business.

B.    In addition to the foregoing, all applicants for a license, including any individual person, any partner of a partnership applicant, or any officer or director of a corporate applicant and any stockholder holding more than seven percent of the shares of stock of a corporate applicant, shall furnish, under oath as may be applicable, the following information:

1.    Full name and any other names used by applicant, current residential address, and current telephone number;

2.    Written proof that the person making application, and all other persons involved, directly or indirectly in the massage business, are at least eighteen (18) years of age;

3.    Date of birth;

4.    Social Security number;

5.    Driver’s license number;


6.    The business, occupation, or employment of the applicant for the three years immediately preceding the date of application;

7.    The massage or similar business license history of the applicant; whether such person, in previously operating in this or another village, city or state under license, has had such license revoked or suspended, the reason therefor, and the business activity or occupation subsequent to such action of suspension or revocation;

8.    All criminal or ordinance violation convictions in any state or federal court, or municipal court, except minor traffic violations;

9.    If the applicant is a corporation, or limited liability company, a copy of its articles of incorporation and/or authorization to do business in the state, not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date of application, shall be attached to the application;

10.    The applicant’s tax identification number;

11.    The current street and mailing address and current telephone number of the corporation, limited liability company or partnership;

12.    Evidence of malpractice liability insurance coverage in an amount that is not less than one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) per occurrence and one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) for all occurrences in one year;

13.    The current name, current street and mailing address, and current telephone number of the landlord or property owner of the property from which the massage business will be conducted;

14.    A copy of the list of the board of directors of the corporate applicant;

15.    Authorization of the city, its agents and employees to seek information and conduct an investigation into the truth of the statements set forth in the application and the qualifications of the applicant for the license; and

16.    Written declaration by the applicant or its authorized agent, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in the application is true and correct, said declaration being duly dated, signed and notarized.

C.    The application for a license to operate a massage business shall state the current name(s), current street address(es), and current telephone number(s) of the individual(s) who will be the business’s massage therapist(s) or who are sublessees of the applicant. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.090 Reserved.

5.18.100 Renewal of license.

Application to renew a license to operate a massage therapy business shall be filed at least forty-five (45) days prior to the date of expiration. Such renewal shall be annual for the business and shall be accompanied by the annual license renewal fee in the amount as specified in Section 3.24.050(X).

A.    The applicant shall present the following information to the city clerk’s office:

1.    A sworn affidavit by the applicant stating that the matters contained in the original application have not changed, or if they have changed, specifically stating changes which have occurred.

B.    The application shall be referred to the departments listed in Section 5.18.060(C).

C.    The granting or denial of applications for renewal shall be handled in accordance with Sections 5.18.060 and 5.18.070. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.110 Revocation or suspension of license.

Any license issued for a massage business may be revoked or suspended by the city after notice and a hearing before the legislative and licensing committee, for good cause, including but not limited to any case where any of the provisions of this chapter are violated or where any employee of the licensee, including a massage therapist, engages in any conduct which violates any of the state or local laws or ordinances at the licensee’s place of business and the licensee has actual or constructive knowledge by due diligence. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1734 § 3 (part), 2000; Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.120 Operating requirements.

A.    Massage therapists shall refrain from sexual conduct with a patron regardless of whether the patron initiates the action.

B.    The licensee or person designated by the licensee of a massage business shall maintain a register of all persons employed at any time as massage therapists. Said register shall be available at the massage business to representatives of the city during regular business hours.

C.    No operator of a massage business may employ or allow to operate in their premises any person as a massage therapist or bodyworker unless said employee has obtained and has in effect a massage therapist license issued by the state or who is exempted from said licensing requirements by the terms of this chapter.

D.    No massage business shall be kept open for any purpose between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m.

E.    The doors to the business and to the individual massage therapy rooms shall not be locked or blocked or obstructed from either side during business hours.

F.    As a condition of the license the licensee must permit city employees, without notice, to inspect the premises at any time during business hours.

G.    Every massage therapist performing off-site massage therapy shall carry their license with them. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.130 Display and transfer of license.

Every licensee shall display a valid license in a conspicuous place within the massage business so that the same may be readily seen by persons entering the premises. No license for the operation of a massage business issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be transferable from one person or entity to another person or entity. Upon the sale or transfer via one or more transactions of an interest fifty (50) percent or greater from the date of application in a massage therapy business, a license shall become null and void. A new application shall be made by any person desiring to operate or maintain a massage therapy business. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.140 Public nuisance.

Any building used as a massage therapy business in violation of this chapter with the intentional, knowing, reckless or negligent permission of the owner thereof, or the agent of the owner managing the building, together with all fixtures and other property used in violation of this chapter are declared to be a nuisance. (Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)

5.18.150 Penalty for violation of this chapter.

Any person, firm, partnership, or corporation who violates any part of this chapter shall be subject to the penalty and enforcement provisions in Chapter 1.12. (Ord. 2552-19 § 14, 2019: Ord. 2333-13 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1664 § I (part), 1998)