Massage parlors on agenda

WARREN – The city is looking to reduce the number of massage parlor licenses available from a maximum of 10 to a number it can more reasonably handle.

Mayor Doug Franklin asked Council’s Health and Welfare Committee to review the city’s massage parlor legislation.

“Our history tells us this is the opportune time to reduce the number of licenses to one we can adequately regulate with the available police and Health Department personnel,” Franklin said. “We will work with council and the Police Department in finding the right number.”

Currently, there is only one massage parlor in operation, Tiger Spa, 420 W. Market St. Another, Sunny Spa, 443 E. Market St., has a license but is on a 30-day suspension. Warren’s Deputy Health Director Bob Pinti closed the spa earlier this month because one of its technicians did not have a license.

“The law says we could suspend the spa’s license for up to 30 days,” he said.

Eight Warren massage parlors were closed last year after an extensive investigation by the state attorney general’s office and other law enforcement agencies led to raids in late May.

The investigation led to Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation receiving affidavits from clients indicating they went to the spas for various sex acts. The city used its nuisance abatement laws to have the spas closed for up to one year.

Councilman Vince Flask said he is pleased the administration is encouraging council to reduce the number of licenses.

“We looked at doing this early in the process, but the Law Department was concerned because, at the time, there were 10 license holders in the city,” Flask said. “Now, since there are only two license holders, this may be a better time.”