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County aims to restrict reiki practitioners

Proposal would limit locations where ‘spiritual healing’ can occur.

First Published Feb 04 2014 07:36 pm • Last Updated Feb 07 2014 01:36 pm

Salt Lake County is looking to make it more difficult for prostitutes to masquerade as reiki practitioners in the unincorporated area.

The planning and development office is drafting an ordinance that would restrict reiki to intensive commercial zones, sharply reducing the number of places where it can be practiced.

At a glance

Annexation dispute

A seven-member boundary commission is in place to direct the next stage of the disputed annexation of the Olympus Hills neighborhood into Holladay.

The commission’s composition was finalized Tuesday when former Salt Lake County Councilman Joe Hatch, former South Jordan Mayor Scott Osborne and former Draper Mayor Darrell Smith accepted invitations to participate.

They join Salt Lake County’s two representatives on the boundary commission — Councilman Jim Bradley and County Treasurer Wayne Cushing — and two delegates from the valley’s cities — Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore and Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan.

The boundary commission now will put together a request for a proposal for a consultant to study a number of issues detailed in state law, including the proposed annexation’s impact on Holladay City, the Olympus Hills neighborhood and the rest of the unincorporated area.

A lack of information about the overall effects of the annexation was a main reason cited Jan. 21 by the County Council in protesting the annexation of the area between 2700 East and Interstate 215 from 3900 South to 4500 South into Holladay.

Last fall, annexation proponents obtained more than the required number of signatures needed to move the area and its 3,600 residents into Holladay.

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The draft ordinance also would require a reiki practitioner to obtain an expensive — $1,300 — conditional-use permit from a local-planning commission, which also is authorized to set rules for the facility, including limiting hours of operation.

"An applicant would have to come to a public meeting and describe what they’re going to be doing," planning director Rolen Yoshinaga told Salt Lake County Council members Tuesday. "It forces it out into the light of day."

With roots in Japanese culture, reiki involves a trained practitioner holding her or his hands above a subject’s body to generate spiritual healing.

County District Attorney Sim Gill emphasized that "this is not an indictment of the reiki industry as a whole. Many practitioners are valid. But there are some individuals who may want to use the legitimacy of a [reiki] front to cover for illegal purposes."

In August, undercover Unified Police Department officers busted a spa in Millcreek for allegedly offering sexual favors to customers. Eight months earlier, a crackdown on two massage parlors known as "Rico Reiki" resulted in four men and one woman being charged with human trafficking and other felonies.

Efforts to contact reiki practitioners Tuesday evening were unsuccessful.

mikeg@sltrib.com




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