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Greenburgh Adopts Law Banning Illegal Massage Parlors

A massage parlor advertised at this Scarsdale address at 455 Central Ave.
A massage parlor advertised at this Scarsdale address at 455 Central Ave. Photo Credit: File

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – The Greenburgh Town Board unanimously approved a law that addresses massage establishments being used for illegal activity, including prostitution, according to Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner.

According to Bob Bernstein, head of the Edgemont Community Council and a major proponent for the law, the legislation will give police the tools they need to close permanently all adult massage businesses in unincorporated Greenburgh that employ workers who are not licensed by the state as massage therapists.

The law employs a three-pronged approach – outlawing all “massage parlors,” which are defined as massage businesses that employ unlicensed personnel, requiring all massage establishments to apply for a license, which will give police the opportunity to conduct background checks to determine whether the applicants have a history of hiring unlicensed massage workers and once licensed, all massage establishments in town then must obtain a special permit in order to comply with the town’s zoning code.

If a massage parlor is found to be operating in town, police will be able to obtain a court order shutting down the business if it never had a license or, if it did have a license, police will then get a court order to revoke the license.

All massage businesses in town will have to comply with the new law within four months.

Without the law, police would conduct undercover raids, but would only be able to target the women who work in those businesses – not whomever employed them – and charge the women not with prostitution but with offering massage services without a license.

Officials still are working on the specifics of the cost of obtaining the license. The cost of obtaining the license from the town is $100, but the Town Board must set a fee for the special permit.

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