A possible moratorium on new massage establishments would have rubbed state law the wrong way, and was dropped by the Stanton City Council Tuesday night.
The proposal was made by Mayor Dave Shawver, but according to City Attorney Mal Richardson, such a pause would do little or nothing to reduce or prevent new massage parlors in the city. The council voted to receive and file a report on the idea without further action.
Under state law passed in 2008, such establishments that agree to hire only state-licensed massage technicians aren’t subject to city regulation beyond normal heatlh, safety and vice laws.
Since 16 of Stanton’s 17 such businesses are under state auspices, and the 17th operating under an exemption for chiropractors, a moratorium “would be of no value to the city,” said City Attorney Mal Richardson.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that the state has put us in,” he continued.
Massage parlors can be a crime problem because, historically, some such businesses have been fronts for houses of prostitution.
“There’s got to be something going on,” said one councilman. “There aren’t that many sore backs in Stanton.”
There is some hope for a change, though, Richardson said. The law in question “sunsets” in two years. If it isn’t re-enacted, control of massage businesses could revert to cities and counties.
Also Tuesday night, the council approved a new five-year agreement with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for police services for Stanton. The proposed cost for 2013-14 is $7,501,387, which represents a 2 percent increase. Rising retirement expenses are blamed for the hike.