Council Passes Massage Parlor Restrictions

The Cambridge City Council last night unanimously approved an ordinance restricting the operations and licensing of massage parlors in the city.

Sources close to the City Council said last night that health club and massage parlor owners in Cambridge will go to court to challenge the constitutionality of the ordinance.

Council members considered the ordinance, which was introduced about a year ago and relegated to the council's "unfinished business" file, after citizens demonstrated yesterday in East Cambridge to protest the opening of "La Club," a new massage parlor at 479 Cambridge St.

Church and State

City Council sources said last night about 25 people demonstrated against the opening of the new establishment, which is located near a residential area about one block from the Sacred Heart Church.


"The people in East Cambridge are very upset," Councilor Lawrence E. Frisoli, who resurrected the ordinance, said last night.

The ordinance includes an amendment, introduced by Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci, which would prevent licensing an establishment if ten or more residents living within 500 ft. of the parlor object to its operations.

The ordinance includes a variety of conditions for denying licenses to potential operators and prohibits persons under the age of 18 from entering such establishments. The ordinance also outlaws the sale or use of alcoholic beverages within such businesses and restricts operating hours to between 7 a.m. and mid-night.

Bernard Flynn, assistant to Cambridge Mayor Thomas W. Danehy, said last night the ordinance is "going to be very difficult to enforce."

Flynn said none of Cambridge's five massage parlors, including The Royal Sauna, The Ultimate and the Gentleman's Retreat, operates as a front for a house of prostitution.

The ordinance states that "it shall be unlawful for any person, in a massage parlor, to place his or her hand or hands upon, to touch with any part of his or her body, to fondle in any manner, or to massage, a sexual or genital part of any other person."

One health club operator, who asked not to be identified, said last night, the council is trying "to stampede a moral issue," adding that the new ordinance "will discourage alternative massage people who are not in the business for profit but for interest.