A popular day spa in Hobart will again pamper the masses in a new location closer to the city center thanks to a gap.
Hobart City Council at its Wednesday evening meeting unanimously approved the waiver for Heavenly Handz Day Spa, 7834 E. Ridge Rd., after confusion over the city’s spa ordinance day left owners Bernadette Munguia and Meghan Cervantes in limbo for a few months.
Munguia and Cervantes were notified in late February that the owner of their space at 710 N. Hobart Rd. was evicting them to develop their own business, Munguia said Wednesday. They were able to persuade the landlord to give them an extra month to find new space, which they did on East Ridge Road, she said.
But when the two went to get their occupancy certificates, the city denied them on April 6 due to conflicting orders, she said. One order classifies businesses offering massage therapy services as “adult entertainment,” which would be conditionally permitted in an area zoned M-1, while another classifies them as “cosmetic and health-related.”
With clergy, nuns and law enforcement among their clientele for 18 years, the two, who took over the business five years ago, could ensure their business was health-related, Munguia said.
“We were doing chair massages at St. Mary’s before the pandemic,” she said. “We spent all our savings buying it, so it’s our baby.”
The two were then asked to appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals, which granted them a waiver to operate at its last meeting. The municipal council has given its approval, to the great pleasure of the co-owners.
“We didn’t think we would have to do all this. It was definitely a left turn in our lives,” Cervantes said.
The council asked City Attorney Heather McCarthy to reconfigure the ordinances to correct the initial confusion.
Once Cervantes and Munguia receive their certificate of occupancy, they will put the finishing touches on their new space and open their doors, Munguia said.
Michelle L. Quinn is a freelance writer for the Post-Tribune.