YOUNGSVILLE, N.C. — When is a massage more than just a massage? In Youngsville, a town's definition is keeping a local therapist out of business.
Linda Paschall, a licensed massage therapist, can only give massages to family and friends free of charge because the town where she lives, Youngsville, has classified her business as a massage parlor, which is not permitted in residential areas.
"I'm saying I'm not a massage parlor," she said. "I am regulated by the state of North Carolina. If I do anything inappropriate, I can be disciplined. I can lose my license."
Larry Pritchett, a zoning administrator in Youngsville, said zoning laws are designed to protect neighborhoods, not discriminate against businesses.
"I have no choice, but to deny it because that's the way the statute is written," he said. "It's not there to keep people from being able to use their property. It's there to protect the quality of life."
"I'm feeling like if I am a native of Youngsville, which I am a native of Youngsville, if I'm treated this way, how would an outsider be treated? Not very well, I don't think," Paschall said.
Town leaders have suggested that Paschall apply for a special use permit, but that means she would have to label her business as a massage parlor, which she is not willing to do.