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City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
LITTLE ROCK TO CONSIDER NEW RULES FOR EXTENDED STAY MOTELS
(Tuesday, July 8, 2008)–Near the site of the newly-closed Plantation Inn, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, City Director Joan Adcock, and other City officials announced a proposed new ordinance that would govern extended-stay motels.
“We stand here today to stress that public safety and the public welfare are our top priorities. When there are situations which seem to promote threats to the safety and welfare of our citizens and visitors, the City should take action,” stated Mayor Stodola.
“There are hotels and motels in our city which were built to be extended-stay facilities. This ordinance does not apply to them. It also does not apply to any motel or hotel that has received a franchise from a nationally-recognized chain, or a hotel or motel which has achieved a three-star rating or above by the AAA or other nationally recognized rating service. But there are also buildings which were built to be short-term motels and hotels which have, over time, become long-term residential facilities,” continued the Mayor.
“These facilities are not equipped for long-term housing and, as such, place a burden on City services such as code inspections, zoning violations, violation of City fire codes, and police responses to criminal activities,” the Mayor noted.
Because these facilities are commercial structures, they do not fall under residential code. But the commercial code has not addressed cooking, food storage, and excessive electrical appliances in hotels and motels. The proposed ordinance addresses these issues.
The ordinance also limits occupants to stay in any room of an extended stay motel or hotel to thirty (30) consecutive calendar days or sixty (60) calendar days within a one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive calendar day period of time.
“Again, I want to stress this proposed ordinance is for the safety and welfare of not only the occupants of these facilities, but also the surrounding neighbors,” reiterated the Mayor. “When Building Codes and the Fire Department make inspections of facilities like this, it is not uncommon to see extension cords running from one room to another, or five or six appliances plugged-in to one outlet using adaptors. These are fire and health hazards.”
“I want to also address the crime impact,” continued the Mayor. “The City of Little Rock has the nationally-recognized Criminal Abatement Program, or CAP. Every two weeks, City Manager Bruce Moore and I meet with representatives from the Police, Housing, Planning & Development, Fire, Public Works Departments and the City Attorney’s Office. One of the things we do is review addresses where there are regularly issues.”
“When extended-stay motels continually come up as locations of police calls, it makes sense to see what we can do to address that. We feel this ordinance will give us another tool,” said the Mayor.
Also at the press conference, City Attorney Tom Carpenter reviewed the actions that led to the closure of the Plantation Inn. On June 20, 2008, Circuit Court Judge Jay Moody declared the Plantation Inn “a common nuisance and detrimental to the citizens of the state.” This was a result of the efforts of CAP.
Prior to the Plantation Inn judgment, City Manager Bruce T. Moore had instructed Planning & Development and Fire Department staff to work with the City Attorney’s Office to draft an ordinance to address the issue of extended stay motels and hotels.
The proposed ordinance will be discussed at the 4pm July 8 Agenda Meeting at Little Rock City Hall and will be discussed further and considered for a vote at the 6pm July 15 Board of Directors Meeting at Little Rock City Hall.