Businesses hear neighborhood complaints

CITY HALL — During a hearing Wednesday on their zoning permits, two troubled businesses with a host of neighborhood complaints and grievances lodged against them fought for the ability to keep operating.

Acknowledging the long list of complaints against them, representatives from the Mix in Montrose and a new day spa on East Colorado Street promised at the hearing to work with city, police and community members to ensure both businesses run legitimate operations in the future.

“They want to overcome the stigma of this site … and show the community and the city that this is a new beginning,” said Dante Charleston, who spoke on behalf of Zhong Yu Piao, who had applied for a conditional-use permit to open and run a day spa.

The spa would replace CHS Health Care Inc. at the 1600 block of East Colorado Street, where an employee allegedly solicited an undercover Glendale police officer on Feb. 19 for sex.

The current owners were operating the health care business at the time of the arrest and were ordered to cease all massage operations in March after they failed to obtain the proper permits.

Police have arrested several employees on suspicion of soliciting prostitution at the site since 2001.

Charleston told principal city planner Wolfgang Krause the current owners plan to hire an all-new staff, conduct employee background checks and ensure they have proper state and local certificates to perform massage and aesthetician services.

“Management will not tolerate in any activities contrary to the health and well-being of the community,” he said.

The new spa would allow walk-ins and provide membership for massages, facials, pedicures and manicures.

But resident Bill Wong opposed plans to open another spa offering massage services at the site known for its illegal activities.

“If it walks like a duck [and] sounds like a duck, it is a duck,” he said.

Resident Ria Issacs, who lives behind the Mix, told Krause she was also fed up with the Foothill Boulevard bar’s constant intrusions on the neighborhood.

She said the bar has allowed smoking and noise to bellow out into the neighborhood. Issacs has also found condoms on her street and has seen patrons urinating in public.

“My quality of life is diminished by having to put up with this until 2 a.m. in the morning seven days a week,” she said.

The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control suspended the bar's alcohol license on Feb. 26 because the state Board of Equalization put a hold on the business for back taxes.

But officials also cited the owners’ inability to address a host of quality life issues, including noise and neighborhood disturbances.

Property owner Michael Ferraro told Krause that if he was notified of the bar’s issue sooner, he would have fixed them.

Ferraro apologized to residents for the bar’s troubles, and offered to work with them on making sure the site’s new tenant is one they would approve. He also told Krause he set up a phone line for residents who have concerns about the site.

Ferraro also suggested that residents help him draft a lease agreement.

“It wasn’t our intention to have this property turn into the mess that it is,” he said.

Still, the overtures of the business owners were not enough for residents, who continued to demand the city revoke the permits.

Krause is expected to issue a decision in the two matters in the coming weeks.

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