Updated: 01/16/2013 10:06 AM KSTP.com By: Maricella Miranda
A new ordinance will go into effect Thursday in Eden Prairie requiring massage therapists to be licensed.
The city adopted the ordinance last week to combat prostitution that was being advertised as "massage" businesses, said Joyce Lorenz, city spokeswoman. The new regulations will provide a safer, more efficient way to manage the businesses, police say.
"It's another tool in the tool box for the police department to deter prostitution," Lorenz said. Prostitution in the city is "not a major issue, but there seems to be a slight increase."
City police have received numerous complaints over the past year regarding "questionable activity" at a small number of businesses offering massage therapy.
There currently are no state regulations in Minnesota for massage therapy businesses, which is prompting cities to pass their own ordinances to regulate the businesses, Lorenz said.
Eden Prairie is following other metro cities. In September, Shakopee adopted an ordinance requiring massage therapy licenses. Savage also regulates the businesses.
In Eden Prairie, massage businesses will be required to pay a one-time investigation fee of $500 and a $300 annual licensing fee. Individuals must pay a $100 one-time investigation fee and a $50 annual licensing fee.
Businesses or individuals with a cosmetology license will not be required to have a city license.
It was unclear Tuesday how many massage businesses exist in Eden Prairie because the city has not been regulating them, Lorenz said. However, the city is identifying businesses and individuals to ensure that they comply with the new license requirements.