Appeal for massage business denied by supervisors

Published 8:39 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

A massage business shut down by the Land Development Commission last month was again denied permission to operate by the Panola County Board of Supervisors at an appeal hearing Monday.

My Dung Ma told supervisors the camper she has used for massages is adequate for her services, and that county codes that require a building with certain standards, including handicapped bathrooms, is unreasonable for small service-based businesses like hers.

Ma had been giving a few massages a month at the camper near her house in Coles Point, but neighbors asked the county’s Code Enforcement Office to inspect the structure, and to investigate her licensure status.

Because she had no license to operate in an approved building she was told to stop, but was allowed to appeal to the supervisors. At the appeal she told board members much of her business is conducted at area hotels where clients meet her for therapeutic massages, but that some prefer to come to the camper.

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She presented the board with letters from two clients – one a banker in Oxford – imploring the supervisors to reconsider the Land Commission’s denial. She said the expense of building a new facility would not be feasible because she doesn’t give massages as a full time job.

Supervisors Chad Weaver, who represents District 4, told Ma he would never support a license for a massage business in that neighborhood after seeing the number of citizens from the area turn out in opposition at her initial hearing.

At that meeting neighbors said they witness vehicles with tags from other counties and states coming to the property at late hours. They said the nature of the business did not fit with the community standards of Coles Point, although no one had first-hand knowledge of illegal activity at the property. Ma said these accusations were lies and she seldom had any customers later than 8 p.m.

Ma was told by supervisors to make her business all mobile, or to consider building or leasing a facility that would meet county codes.