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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | CENTRAL: ORANGE

Ordinance Would Ease Massage Parlor Limits

November 03, 1998|LESLEY WRIGHT

Massage therapists will be able to set up shop in any of the city's commercial districts if final passage of an ordinance goes through Nov. 10.

After public hearings, meetings and legal wrangling, the City Council voted last week to cease treating massage shops as "adult businesses" and allow them to operate like any other enterprise.

The push to reform laws governing massage therapists began in February, when police said they would have an easier time closing massage parlors that were fronts for prostitution if the industry were regulated.

Following a regional trend, City Council members voted to treat masseurs and masseuses as legitimate businesses, but the therapists in turn had to prove they had adequate training to be licensed.

Previously, almost anyone could open a massage parlor as long as it was in an area zoned for adult businesses.

The vote was 2 to 1 to allow the therapists in all commercial zones, with Councilman Mike Alvarez voting against the change. Council members Mark Murphy and Mike Spurgeon missed the vote to attend a funeral.

Alvarez said he did not believe the businesses were appropriate for all business zones.

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