Grass Valley council votes to extend hours for massage businesses | TheUnion.com

Grass Valley council votes to extend hours for massage businesses

Grass Valley on Tuesday voted to relax its massage business ordinance somewhat, extending the hours such businesses can be open at night.

The city council adopted regulations for massage businesses in April 2016, which, among other requirements, established a closing time of 7 p.m. That had a significant negative impact on some of those businesses, according to their owners. In February of this year, several of those owners petitioned the council to revisit the issue.

Ming Liang Wang, who owns Crystal Massage in the Glenbrook Shopping Center, told the council he's experienced a 20-25 percent decrease in business since the ordinance went into effect.

Grass Valley Police Capt. Steve Johnson said the ordinance was implemented in response to concerns about criminal activity happening at massage businesses. Two such business in particular, he said, were owned by people who lived out of the area and had generated many calls for service and complaints.

Johnson said he considered the ordinance successful, adding that one of those businesses never was able to come into compliance regarding certifications for its massage therapists and chose to close down.

The second business could not maintain compliance with its therapist certifications and basic sanitary requirements, Johnson said.

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"We were able to perform inspections and hold them accountable," he said, adding that business eventually closed as well.

"I'm happy to report the remaining establishments in the city are in compliance and have been so for quite some time," Johnson said. "They have been extremely responsible and eager to comply."

Johnson said the owners have requested an extension of the allowable hours. After receiving feedback from customers as well, he said, the change to the ordinance would extend the hours to 9 p.m.

Grass Valley OK's fire department, K-9 proposals

The Grass Valley city council OK'd a one-year pilot project that will consolidate Nevada City and Grass Valley fire department administration under a shared services model. Nevada City was set to discuss the project Wednesday.

This new proposal will serve as a one-year test of the model. Under the new proposal, Grass Valley Fire Chief Mark Buttron will serve as the fire chief for both cities while Nevada City Fire Chief Sam Goodspeed becomes division chief and comes off captain duty on an engine. To replace him, Grass Valley will put one officer in his spot.

The two cities are proposing an Aug. 1 start date for the proposal.

Buttron noted the two cities have similar challenges that include historic downtowns with turn-of-the-century construction and Wildland Urban Interface areas on the perimeters.

The council also approved a trade that will bring K-9 Rudiger and a K-9 vehicle from Nevada City to Grass Valley, in return for a similar patrol vehicle. The issue is on Nevada City's council agenda Wednesday.

Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard noted that Rudiger was purchased with community fundraising, adding, "It's important to people in the community that he continues to do his work in western Nevada County."

Nevada City Police Lt. Chad Ellis told the council that it came as a shock when his department learned it was losing Rudiger's handler.

Ellis said Nevada City's more senior officers did not want to take on the K-9 handler role and its newer officers need to solidify their patrol experience before taking on a more specialized assignment. He estimated Nevada City is about two years away from being in a position to have a K-9 again.

In response to a question on training costs, Gammelgard said the Rudiger Foundation would continue to help financially.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.