Missouri City City Council has officially approved an ordinance that establishes more regulations around massage establishments.

During its Aug. 15 meeting, City Council unanimously approved the second of two readings of the ordinance, which amends the city’s zoning code by adding the definition of a “massage establishment,” “massage therapist” and “massage therapy;” adding massage establishments as a permitted use in LC-2 local retail zones; and adding supplementary district regulations for massage establishments, according to the approved ordinance.

The action comes after a first reading of the ordinance was approved by City Council on Aug. 1.

According to Jennifer Thomas Gomez, Missouri City’s development services director, the action by City Council relocates regulations into the city’s zoning ordinance, allowing the city the ability to revoke or suspend certificates of occupancy.

According to the ordinance, the following regulations are now in effect:

  • A site plan review is required for a proposed massage establishment.

  • Application requirements have been updated, including hours and days of operation, the proposed location and site plan with exterior elevation, and proposed window coverings and signage.

  • Outside windows must be transparent.

  • Views must be unobstructed from the outside into the lobby/waiting area.

  • Doors must remain unlocked during regular business hours. A solo therapist should be exempted from this requirement.

  • A valid and current massage therapist or massage establishment license must be displayed and easily viewable within the lobby or waiting area.

  • No ATMs are permitted on-site.

  • A peace officer must be granted immediate access.

  • A certificate of occupancy would be revoked should a prohibited operation be found.

The new regulations come after the human trafficking team for the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office requested Missouri City consider regulations assisting in preventing sex trafficking in the county.

During City Council’s first reading of the ordinance, Rhonda Kuykendall, the chair of the human trafficking team, expressed support for the new regulations.

“I am super excited to see this finally before all of you,” Kuykendall said during the Aug. 1 meeting.

As of June 3, Missouri City had 16 state-licensed massage establishments within city limits, according to the Aug. 15 agenda report.