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Greenburgh Considers Moratorium on Massage Parlors

This ad for massages at the Aroma Spa in Scarsdale, one of several closed by Greenburgh police in August 2013, appears online.
This ad for massages at the Aroma Spa in Scarsdale, one of several closed by Greenburgh police in August 2013, appears online. Photo Credit: Online Ad Yelp

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Shady local massage parlors may be making it harder for reputable ones to do business in Greenburgh.

Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said the Town Council discussed the implementation of a moratorium and new laws for businesses seeking to operate as massage parlors in town at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

In an email blast, Feiner said the discussion came about as a result of “… concerns expressed by the town police chief and several community residents regarding the recent increase in businesses in town operating as massage parlors, and complaints that many of these businesses may be employing unlicensed massage therapists and providing questionable services with possible criminal activity …”

In August 2013, Greenburgh police raided and shut down seven massage parlors and arrested 19 workers on felony charges of operating without proper licensing. No evidence of illicit activities or sex trafficking was found during the raids.

The raids were part of a yearlong investigation, which came about in response to complaints from Greenburgh residents.

Click here to read our story on the raids.

The moratorium would be put in place as soon as it is adopted and would last until a new town law is adopted to regulate such businesses. In order to operate as a massage parlor in Greenburgh, the proposed new law would require massage therapists to:

  • Possess a diploma from an institution accredited by a state board of education.
  • Have a valid license to practice massage therapy from the state Education Department's Division of Professional Licensing Services.
  • Have a town massage therapist permit issued by the town building inspector.

The law would also require applicants for massage therapy permits to submit a statement on whether they have been arrested or convicted of a crime.

A character statement would advise if the applicant “was of good character and reputation in the community, which character and reputation could be determined by a previous arrest record; association with persons known to lack good moral character, open and notorious criminal sexual activity, or other acts of moral turpitude or conduct contrary to good morals.”

In addition, massage therapists would have to submit fingerprints and their photograph to the Police Department. Those in violation of the proposed law could be fined up to $15,000.

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