Owners of massage establishments will now have to undergo criminal background checks and pay for a city-issued certificate to operate in Glendale.

City Council on Tuesday approved a new ordinance requiring massage establishment operators — who own at least 5% of the business and are not certified by the California Massage Therapy Council — to obtain and pay for a $521 massage establishment owner certificate.

The Police Department will also perform criminal background checks on massage business owners or operators before they are granted a certificate.

Last year Councilman Zareh Sinanyan brought the issue to the Police Department and City Council after he said he noticed a proliferation of massage establishments along East Colorado Street.

“The more closely I looked the more I noticed,” he said.

The exterior of the establishments were also covered, which he said raised concerns.

And in June, Glendale police arrested a masseuse who allegedly offered sex acts to an undercover officer at a spa on Colorado Street.

The ordinance, Sinanyan said, is intended to control specific activity not associated with legitimate massage services.

City officials can decline to issue a certificate to an owner for disqualifying conduct such as pandering, prostitution, lewd acts or drug sales.

The city can also revoke a certificate for any violations and impose fines ranging from $400 for a first offense to $2,000 for the third offense.

Massage therapists, who operate in the city, are already required to show proof they are certified by the state council under a similar ordinance approved in 2011.

Owners of massage establishments in Glendale must also hire only therapists who are certified by the council.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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