Owners of massage establishments will now have to undergo criminal background checks and pay for a city-issued certificate to operate in Glendale.
The City Council this week approved a new ordinance requiring massage establishment operators — who own at least 5% of the business and are not already certified by the California Massage Therapy Council — to obtain and pay for a $521 massage establishment owner certificate, the Glendale News-Press reported.
The Police Department will perform criminal background checks on massage business owners or operators before they are granted a certificate. Members of the state massage council undergo background checks as part of their certification.
Last year, Councilman Zareh Sinanyan brought the issue to the Police Department and City Council after he said he noticed a proliferation of massage establishments along East Colorado Street.
"The more closely I looked, the more I noticed," he said.
The exterior of the establishments were also covered, which he said raised concerns.
And in June, Glendale police arrested a masseuse who allegedly offered sex acts to an undercover officer at a spa on Colorado Street.
The ordinance, Sinanyan said, is intended to control specific activity not associated with legitimate massage services.
City officials can decline to issue a certificate to an owner for disqualifying conduct such as pandering, prostitution, lewd acts or drug sales.
The city can also revoke a certificate for any violations and impose fines ranging from $400 for a first offense to $2,000 for the third offense.
Massage therapists who operate in the city are already required to show proof they are certified by the state council under a similar ordinance approved in 2011.
Owners of massage establishments in Glendale must also hire only therapists who are certified by the council.
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