Fairfax County says that massage parlors should be closed down.
Fairfax County says that a health club alleged to be a massage parlor can expand.
Both of the above are true.
It's a case of the County's Board of Zoning Appeals exercising its independence from the County Board of Supervisors, whose policy is to close down massage establishments.
The zoning appeals agency has overturned a decision by the county's zoning administrator and granted the Valentine Health Spa. 8301 Lee Hwy., permission to expand.
The supervisors, who control most branches of the county government are angry and have decided to sue the zoning appeals board.
Supervisor James M. Scott (D), in whose Providence District the health spa is located, called the situation "intolerable . . . It is incredible to me that this kind of thing continues . . ." $ the county attorney, F. Lee Ruck, has been placed in the unusual position of being told to sue the zoning appeals board, which he also represents in his job. "I've gotten pretty antsy over this," he said.
Daniel Smith, chairman of the appeals board, defended the health spa decision and said "it was based on an improperly conceived permit that did not specify the amount of space the spa was allowed to use."
The supervisors have tried unsuccessfully to abolish the agency or at least to gain control of its appointees. The appeals board's five members are now appointed by the chief judge of the Circuit Court and thus are a vestige of earlier days when the state, often through the circuit courts, kept tight control over local affairs.
Smith acknowledged the friction between his agency and the supervisors, blaming it in part of the county having a "more aggressive zoning administrator," Philip Yates, who was named to the post last year.
Supervisor Scott declared that the appeals board "is virtually unaccountable to our citizens and they have been the cause of a number of problems in the past . . . By allowing the expansion of a massage parlor, they have greatly reduced their crediblity."
Frederick Ford, attorney for the Valentine Health Spa, said the establishment surrendered its massage parlor permit and that it is "purely a health spa."
Both Scott and Zoning Administrator Yates maintained that Valentine's is a massage parlor. Last year the supervisors prohibited cross-sexual massages in an effort to drive such businesses out of the country.
A male reporter's telephone call to Valentine's yesterday inquiring if women were available to give massages brought this response: "Sure come on over, everyone will welcome you."