Home-based massage business gets OK from Guilderland zoning boad

The Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals gave a massage therapy team permission to operate a home-based business at a Wednesday, Aug 6, meeting, despite vocal dissent from neighbors at a previous meeting.

Debbieanne Vigneri and Ruth Brown, now residents of 125 Birchwood Drive, are licensed message therapists, and applied for special permission to give messages at their home.

At a Wednesday, July 2, Zoning Board meeting, Brown and Vigneri faced opposition from neighbors over their request to operate the business out of their home. Many residents spoke out against the increased traffic the business would generate.

Neighbors at the July 2 meeting pointed to the stigma of some massage businesses and questioned the character of Brown and Vigneri's clients.

Brown said the two have met some other neighbors who were not at the initial meeting, and they seemed supportive.

This was a great opportunity to educate people about massage, she said.

She said the ordeal served as an opportunity to show that the stereotypes about the massage business are not true.

None of the initial protestors attended the Wednesday, Aug. 6, meeting, where the approval of the home-based occupation was announced.

"We are really thrilled it turned out right," Brown said.

The Zoning Board spent July researching the traffic patterns of other similar businesses and concluded that the residential occupation would not generate abnormal traffic patterns.

The board found a similar business on Warren Street in McKownville and said in the 10 years the business operated, neither the police nor the zoning board received any complaints about increased traffic.

They also determined that the traffic Brown and Vigneri will generate is below the average for the type house they occupy.

"The business seems like it will generate four to eight roundtrips per day," said Zoning Board Chairman Peter Barber. "The average traffic generated from a single family detached house is 10 roundtrips per day."

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