Duluth City Council members voted unanimously on Monday night to toughen the city ordinance that regulates massage parlors.
City leaders said the change is necessary to fight prostitution and other illegal activity that goes on at some massage businesses.
The amendment to the law changes the business license fee from $50 to $1,500. It only allows seven massage parlors to operate in the city. Business owners and massage therapists will undergo background checks and fingerprinting.
Daniel Allen and his wife own Tai Ji Massage on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth. Allen said changes are needed to stop illegal activity, like prostitution, that police have cited some massage parlors for engaging in.
Allen does not agree with the new business license fee.
"That seems a bit extreme. When people are trying to start a business, it's hard enough with the economy to put your money into a business like we did," said Allen.
Reg Stewart lives near Tong Tong China Massage. Stewart and other residents fought for a tougher massage business law after police got into a shootout with two people last November at Tong Tong.
"Just within a two-mile radius on Peachtree Industrial there are about six of them (massage parlors) that have opened up since 2008," said Stewart. "They have been cited over and over again for illicit activity. The police just didn't have the law on their side to close them. They could cite them but they couldn't go any further. This new ordinance gives them a lot more teeth than what the old ordinance did."
The new changes will begin June 1.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Monday, September 1 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:00:16 GMT
It's an amazing story of inspiration. One man's journey against all odds. 38-year-old Michael Mills is a paraplegic. He was hit by a drunk driver at the age of 16 and before that he was faced with this. "IMore >
It's an amazing story of inspiration. One man's journey against all odds. 38-year-old Michael Mills is a paraplegic, but it's not slowing him down. More >