The Santa Clarita City Council, when it meets Tuesday, will consider changing its Municipal Code in three areas, as proposed by city staff and reviewed by a City Council subcommittee of Members Bob Kellar and TimBen Boydston.
The changes, if approved, will regulate the hours of operation of massage parlors; treat e-cigarettes the same as tobacco products for purposes of regulation; and restrict aggressive solicitation (sales people), as per the staff report below.
DATE: April 28, 2015
SUBJECT: AMENDMENTS TO THE CITY’S MUNICIPAL CODE TO INCLUDE: AMENDING CHAPTER 5.08 (MASSAGE); AMENDING CHAPTER 9.50 (TOBACCO CONTROL); AND ADDING CHAPTER 35 (AGGRESSIVE SOLICITATION) TO TITLE 11
- Introduce and pass to second reading an ordinance entitled, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA, AMENDING CHAPTER 5.08 (MASSAGE) OF THE SANTA CLARITA MUNICIPAL ”
- Introduce and pass to second reading an ordinance entitled, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA, PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELL-BEING BY AMENDING CHAPTER 50 (TOBACCO CONTROL) OF THE SANTA CLARITA MUNICIPAL CODE.”
- Introduce and pass to second reading an ordinance entitled, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA, ADDING CHAPTER 35 TO TITLE 11, PUBLIC PEACE AND WELFARE, OF THE SANTA CLARITA MUNICIPAL CODE CONCERNING AGGRESSIVE SOLICITATION AND SOLICITATION AT SPECIFIC ”
The Santa Clarita Municipal Code is occasionally updated to address issues that develop within the community or to be consistent with new state or federal legislation. There are changes to three titles being proposed as part of this Municipal Code update, including amendments to two existing chapters and the addition of one new chapter. On March 31, 2015, the proposed Municipal Code amendments were presented and discussed at the Development Subcommittee meeting with committee members Mayor Pro Tem Kellar and Councilmember Boydston.
All changes in this update are a result of multi-divisional City staff coordination, including the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department, Community Development Department, Administrative Services Department, and the Sheriff’s Department.
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED MUNICIPAL CODE CHANGES
The following is a summary of the proposed chapter amendments and addition.
Chapter 5.08 – Massage
In September of 2014, the California State Assembly approved Assembly Bill 1147. This bill prohibits the City from regulating massage practitioners, as they are regulated by the California Massage Therapy Council. The bill restores some of the regulatory power to the City by allowing for continued regulation of massage business owners and the ability to regulate hours of operation for massage businesses.
Information received from the Sheriff’s Department and the Community Preservation Division indicate that illicit activities associated with massage parlors tend to occur in the late night and early morning hours. City staff has researched hours of operation limitations established at numerous benchmark cities, in addition to completing a window survey of over 20 existing massage businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley. Staff recommends the limiting of massage businesses hours of operation to between 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in an effort to deter illegal activities, while not conflicting with typical operating hours of legitimate massage businesses. These hours mirror those adopted for massage businesses in other cities, including Pasadena, Ventura, Glendale, and Palmdale.
The proposed updates to this chapter include: 1) removing code language that regulates individual massage therapists; and 2) restricting massage businesses’ hours of operation to between 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Chapter 9.50 – Tobacco Control
As the popularity of electronic (e-) cigarettes and electronic smoking devices (ESD) grows, City staff and the Sheriff’s Department have received an increasing number of complaints about the use of ESDs in public areas, including on buses and in parks. Questions about the health effects of the vapor expelled from ESDs remain unanswered, as research on the devices is in its infant stages; however, a recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the vapor can have high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
While the Federal Drug Administration has not made legal determinations regarding these devices, the State of California has legislation drafted, but not yet adopted, to regulate them. The California Department of Health has declared e-cigarettes a public health risk, and the California Department of Education has encouraged schools to adopt policies that prohibit ESDs on district property. In addition, there are over 60 cities and counties in California that have already passed some regulation regarding ESDs.
Currently, the Municipal Code prohibits smoking in City facilities, parks, workplaces, and other public places; however, ESDs are not defined in the Municipal Code as smoking. The proposed changes to the Municipal Code will define the use of all forms of ESDs as smoking.
In addition, a change is proposed to ensure the Municipal Code section that prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars is consistent with California Labor Code § 6404.5.
Chapter 11.35 – Aggressive Solicitation and Solicitation at Specific Locations
With an increasing homeless population within the City, panhandlers and solicitors are becoming a growing problem. The Sheriff’s Department received a total of 48 complaining calls regarding aggressive solicitation in 2014. While solicitation is a protected First Amendment right, aggressive solicitation is not. In responding to complaints, Sheriff’s Deputies are currently limited on what actions they can take to address grievances, as the Santa Clarita Municipal Code currently only regulates commercial aggressive solicitation. While it is a misdemeanor under the California Penal Code (Section 647(c)) to accost other persons in a public place for the purposes of begging or soliciting, offenders who are prosecuted through the District Attorney’s Office often have charges dismissed or are given lenient penalties.
A new chapter in the Municipal Code is proposed to prohibit any type of aggressive solicitation and to provide a way for the City to prosecute offenders. Also, since the courts have upheld support for ordinances that prevent solicitation in specific sensitive locations or those that create a captive audience for a solicitor, this new chapter will also include restrictions to solicitation in sensitive areas.
There are four main provisions to this chapter.
- Prohibition of solicitation within a public place that is aggressive, coercive, intimidates, or causes fear for
- Prohibition of solicitation in sensitive areas. Sensitive areas include: within 30 feet of any bank, automatic teller machine (ATM), bus, bus stop, or public transportation facility.
- Prohibit any person from soliciting on private property if the owner, tenant, or legal occupant has asked the person to not solicit or has posted signs indicating solicitation is not permitted on the property. The definition of “private property” is any land not owned by the government or designated for public use as a public place. Private property where the public or a substantial group of persons has access is not considered private property in this instance. This provision would not prevent the solicitation from occurring in public places such as shopping centers or business establishments.
- Establish a process where violators may be prosecuted by the City Attorney’s ENVIRONMENTAL
The proposed project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under
Section 15061 (b)(3). The project is exempt from CEQA because the activity is covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment.
Other action as determined by the City Council.
Implementation of the proposed ordinances will be administered by the existing staff of the Planning Division, Community Preservation Division, Building & Safety Division, and the Sheriff’s Department.