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City wants to license massage establishments

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Evanston officials will ask aldermen tonight to adopt an ordinance that would require city licensing of massage establishments.

The proposal follows a failed effort four years ago to require special use approval for massage businesses.

The new proposal wouldn't limit where massage businesses could operate but would require business owners to pay a $50 licensing fee and provide identification information for each therapist working at the business and their state licenses.

The ordinance would bar issuance of licenses to anyone conficted of "any offense involving sexual misconduct" or a violent felonly or the use of dangerous drugs or weapons.

It would also bar from holding a license anyone who had had a previous massage business permit anywhere denied revoked or suspended within the past 10 years.

It also sets a variety of standards for the layout of massage businesses and bars sex acts and nudity in the presence of another person in the businesses.

The new ordinance is being recommended by the city's corporation counsel and police chief.

Police have made occasional arrests for prostitution at businesses that advertised themselves as massage parlors in Evanston, including at least one each in 2011 and 2012 and one in 2014.

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