VISALIA, California (KSEE) – Some residents are concerned after a massage parlor was approved to open after its sole massage therapist was in compliance with city code by not registering with the city.
Planning Commission Chair Liz Wynn said she voted no for the approval of the project because of several red flags including the therapist not being registered, therefore breaking city code.
In 2012 Visalia passed an ordinance to reduce sex trafficking by making massage therapists register not only with the state but within the city.
“I am not saying they are proposing anything illegal,” said Wynn. “I am just saying, we need to keep a tighter watch on these things. Last year, family services removed over 38 victims of human trafficking, sex trafficking, from businesses similar to these.”
The massage parlor plan for the business “Healthy Massage” was approved and was able to start business in the new location beginning this last Monday.
This is the 32nd massage parlor in Visalia, and the 4th one opened in the last year.
Some neighbors are against the business moving in.
“I am not sure what those massage parlors bring in but I do not think it is going to be anything that people with children would want,” said nearby resident Roy Minson who has lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade.
The permit passed the planning commission 3-2. Wynn, one of the commissioners, voted no. She said there are several red flags including the massage therapist only speaking through a family friend because the therapist could only speak Chinese, the massage parlor wanting to be open late hours of the night, and the owner already running another massage parlor, Zen Spa, open on the other side of town.
“I was concerned that the applicant had been before us maybe so to 12 months earlier with a similar issue and when I checked in the business license division there weren’t any massage therapists registered with that division,” said Wynn.
Wynn stated the code violation could be an oversight because of the language barrier.
The parlor is allowed to operate until 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. on weekends.
Another neighbor who declined to go on the record said originally he opposed the parlor and started a petition against it. However, after he talked with the owner he said the person plans to build a fence around the property and said it could be a positive addition by cutting down in homeless in area and now supports it.
We reached out to the employee and owner who both declined to comment.
We want to emphasize there is absolutely no evidence of illegal activity that has been reported concerning either parlor.