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Citrus Heights eyes cap on massage parlors, after rapid increase

By Mike Hazlip—
New proposed regulations could limit the number of massage establishments in Citrus Heights.

The city is holding a community open house on Wednesday, March 1 at 4 p.m. to consider updating regulations to limit the number of massage parlors to one licensed location for every 3,400 residents, according to information posted to the city’s website.

The proposed change comes amid what the city says is nearly a 100 percent increase in the number of massage parlors since 2019. The aim of the proposal is to address “the potential for unlawful activity that impacts surrounding neighborhoods and the potential for human trafficking to occur in massage establishments,” the city says.

The proposal would cap the number of establishments to 25 parlors allowed in the city for an estimated population of over 86,000 residents, according to the announcement. There are 26 licensed locations currently, according to the city.

A Feb. 17 draft of the ordinance titled “Massage Establishment Licensing Law of the city of Citrus Heights,” details the provisions and intent of the measure.

The open house will be held at City Hall and the city is encouraging anyone with an interest in the proposed changes to attend.

Current city ordinance requires massage establishments to be licensed and staffed by California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) certificate holders. Businesses looking to open a massage parlor must provide a total of eight documents including the CAMTC certificate and identification card, and a copy of a valid and current driver’s license or identification card.

The Sentinel previously reported the city temporarily banned new massage permits in 2014 out of similar concerns over human trafficking and prostitution.

According to a 2019 report by ABC10, the City of Sacramento developed an ordinance aimed at curbing massage parlors that serve as a front for prostitution, often forcing workers to live on the premises.

The Sacramento Bee reported at least one third of Sacramento’s 200 massage parlors are offering illegal sexual conduct between workers and customers.

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