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A Neshannock Township Zoning hearing is on hold, pending evidence that Sue's Chinese Massage has actually vacated its premises.

The board, comprised of Frank Moses as chairman, Nancy Bonk and Dennis Alduk, voted to hold an appeal of the township supervisors "in abeyance" at the request of the township solicitor, waiting to see the outcome of whether the business would remain closed. 

Solicitor Louis Perrotta told the zoning board he received a call from township zoning officer James Farris assuring him the business would be closed down before the time of Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. hearing. Because of that, he requested that board hold the appeal "in abeyance," in case of any future infraction by the applicants, and the board complied. "In abeyance," means the board's decision will be made when there's proof the business is gone from the location.

No one from the business attended the hearing, requested a refund of more than $500 in permit fees and didn't receive confirmation the business would be closed.

Tuesday's hearing was the result of the supervisors' appeal of Farris' Feb. 11 issuance of the zoning certificate for the massage parlor at 3861 Wilmington Road, directly across from McGary Road in the BP Business Park zone of the township.

The property owner is DPM Land Co. LP of 186 Covert Road, and the applicant is Raymond Peluso. The zoning certificate application indicates that the house on the property was to be used for "personal service massage therapy."

The supervisors contend that a massage parlor is an adult use and does not offer other day spa services. The appeal claims the business is non-compliant in front-yard and building setbacks as well as requirements for parking. The layout of the house lends to the belief the facility will also be used for living quarters, inconsistent with the zoning ordinance, which doesn't comply with township requirements for health and safety.

Farris had issued the zoning certificate after township building inspector Tom McCosby earlier in February had issued a building permit to the property owner for construction of an interior wall to create two massage parlor rooms. He also had issued an occupancy permit.

McCosby explained Wednesday that he issued the permits for the property and proposed construction, not for the business itself. But without the proper zoning, those permits would not apply, he said. 

However, because the township's appeal is still pending, the owner would be able to put in another business in the house with the same permits as long as it complies with the zoning ordinance and no additional construction is done, McCosby said.

The two-story white single-family wood frame house where the business had been operating since February was dark Tuesday night, and neon signs that lit up the windows during the past month were absent, but a sign for the business posted on wooden stakes remained.  

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com 

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