Visalia aims to rub-out risky business at massage parlors


Monday night, the city council voted to move forward with a proposed ordinance which would make it mandatory for businesses to become state-certified. It stems from complaints regarding unlawful activity inside massage parlors.

Right now, there are 104 massage-related businesses within the Visalia city limits. Of those, 71 opened within the past five years.

Captain Rick Haskill said, "We have seen a dramatic increase over the last few years."

Captain Haskill with the Visalia Police Department says all it takes to operate a massage parlor is to have a business license, which can sometimes make it easier for criminal activity to occur.

Just last month, officers arrested two women at the Evergreen Massage Parlor, after they allegedly offered sex to undercover officers.

Department officials now want the city to consider adopting an ordinance which would require all new and current businesses to become state certified, and undergo background checks.

Captain Haskill said, "The intent is to work with the legitimate folks and have them up and running."

Monday night, the Visalia City Council voted unanimously to move forward with the proposal.

Mayor Amy Shuklian says while she's concerned about the financial toll an ordinance will have on businesses, more regulation will likely protect the legitimate ones.

Mayor Shuklian said, "The folks, who go to massage school, take a lot of time and energy and money and open legitimate therapeutic massage practices."

Places like the reputable Renaissance Salon and Day Spa in Downtown Visalia. Manager, Theresa Sampietro says they're already licensed by the state, and thinks all places offering massages should do the same.

Theresa Sampietro said, "And yeah, being able to just know that you're gonna, where you go, you're receiving a good service and from someone who did the schooling properly and is going to give you a proper service."

The police department is inviting massage parlor owners to attend an informational meeting inside City Hall at 6 o'clock on April 26th.

The council is expected to make its final decision on the ordinance May 7th.

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