COLUMBIA, S.C. — It seems like the idea of a massage parlor near a residential area rubbed some folks the wrong way.
Yuzhen Zhu withdrew her application Tuesday morning to establish a massage parlor, U-Relax Massage, at 714 North Beltline Boulevard. The decision came about two hours before the Columbia City Council was set to take up debate about the application.
The property is next to Maurice's BBQ and around the corner from upscale Cross Hill Market shopping center. But some resident were upset about the proposed business, and planned to be at Tuesday's council meeting to express their opinion.
"We are protective of our neighborhood and would like it to be a pleasant residential area, so we are very much in favor of not having this thing happen," nearby resident Pud Patterson Clark said.
Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah had said that neighbors had raised concerns that the massage parlor at the location "would detract from the local area" and that he was working to raise awareness of the issue.
"I think it's a win for the neighborhood itself and I am hoping that we will continue to communicate with the neighborhood for them to show their support or oppose any other businesses that may effect their neighborhood," Baddourah said.
In the application, Yuzhen stated that she is a licensed massage therapist specializing in deep tissue massage and reflexology -- and that the zoning request was not a request for a sexually oriented business. The Beltline location was to be a branch of her existing business in Mauldin, SC.
Baddourah released this statement after Yuzhen withdrew the zoning request:
“It’s certainly great news that the massage parlor withdrew its application. This business simply isn’t compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods and would create anxiety for nearby residents, especially given some of the recent news about massage parlors. It surely doesn’t warrant a special zoning exception.
“The residents of the nearby neighborhoods who stepped up to defeat the zoning change should be commended for their efforts.”