Gustine council advances massage business code

A new code regulating massage establishments in Gustine reflects minimal changes from existing regulations.

City Council members, who earlier in July had adopted a moratorium on such businesses after learning that regulatory codes were outdated, introduced an updated ordinance which requires massage therapists to be certified through the California Massage Therapy Council (CMTC) and prohibits all outcall services.

The CMTC certification is a rigorous process which includes background checks and completion of 500 hours of instruction at an accredited school, City Manager Doug Dunford noted.

Council members had the option of adding zoning elements as well to restrict locations for massage establishments, but chose to leave in place the existing standard under which the businesses can be located in any commercial zone.

“You eliminate a lot of problems if you have the state certification requirement,” commented council member Rich Ford, adding that legitimate massage businesses would not be out of place in the city’s commercial zones.

The matter came to the council because City Hall has received inquiries about establishing massage businesses, Dunford said. The moratorium provides time for city codes to be updated, he added.

The proposed ordinance will come back to the council for final adoption on Aug. 6 and, if enacted, would be effective Sept. 6. A companion action will extend the moratorium on massage businesses, which otherwise would expire in mid-August, to the date on which the new ordinance is effective.

Use permit approved for Newman bar

The Newman Planning Commission last week unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a cocktail lounge to open in the former Model Cleaners building at Main and Merced streets.

The building, which is currently being renovated to house the bar, has been vacant for about a decade.

Applicant Danny Gray has a proven track record in operating restaurants and cocktail lounges, including past establishments in Newman, City Manager Michael Holland said in presenting the staff report to planners.

In addition to interior seating, the planned establishment will include a fenced patio area.

Gray said a limited menu of food items, such as salads and sandwiches, will be served. No hot dishes will be served, he said. He characterized the planned establishment as a sports lounge.

In response to a question from the commission, Gray said that arrangements for a smoking area are still being worked out.

Holland said notices regarding the planned bar and advertising the public hearing were mailed to property owners within 300 feet of the site and published in the West Side Index. The city received no comments on the proposal, Holland reported, and nobody other than Gray spoke during the public hearing before the commission.

The use permit was approved subject to a number of conditions of approval governing the operation.

West Side weather

Newman resident Marge Carvalho, an observer for the National Weather Service, reported the following high/low daily temperatures for the past week. Information for the previous 24-hour period is recorded at 5 p.m. daily.

Monday, July 15: 103/64

Tuesday, July 16: 101/65

Wednesday, July 17: 99/59

Thursday, July 18: 98/68

Friday, July 19: 95/63

Saturday, July 20: 96/62

Sunday, July 21: 98/63