Spa faces suspension

WARREN – One of the two remaining spas in the city on Wednesday appealed a possible a 90-day suspension.

A suspension notice was filed after a city Health Department sanitarian reported finding a bikini-clad employee helping a naked patron take a shower during a March 21 morning inspection.

Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Pinti said the spa was immediately notified that they were breaking the city’s ordinance. The spa’s owner was officially notified of a possible 90-suspension on Friday.

“According to the city’s ordinance, they have the right to appeal the suspension within 10 days of receiving the notification,” Pinti said Wednesday. “We received its notification of appeal earlier today.”

Sunny Spa, 443 East Market St., is one of two spas remaining in the city after the state raided eight of the city’s 10 spas in 2012. The other, Tiger Spa, 420 West Market St, remains open.

Pinti said the city was willing to hear the appeal immediately, but the spa’s attorney, Harry DiPietro, elected to have the hearing during the Health Department’s next meeting on April 24. The spa may remain open during the appeal process, according to Pinti.

If the city proves that Sunny Spa violated the ordinance, it will be the second time the spa will be closed. It was closed earlier this year because one of its employees did not have the proper license.

City Council passed an ordinance in January reducing the number of spa licenses in the city from 10 to 2.

“This just shows that the city’s decision to reduce the number of available spa licenses was the right thing to do,” Mayor Doug Franklin said. “By reducing the number, we are better able to make sure they are following the law because we have the manpower to properly do the inspections.”

Councilman Greg Bartholomew, D-4th Ward, said the spa owner is risking permanently losing the establishment’s licenses if it continues getting violations and the Health Department determines it is a nuisance.

“They will be shut down like the other eight were if this continues,” he said.

Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at large, who sponsored the legislation to reduce the number of spas, said her goal is to continue reducing the number of available spa licenses until there are none in the city.