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City Council targets motels in potential ordinance expansion

Nuisance Motels Pilot Program to hold owners responsible for every city-related problem.

Photo illustration by Jade Inglada

Photo illustration by Jade Inglada

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After numerous complaints and phone calls from all over the city, the Long Beach City Council will look at expanding a pilot program targeting nuisance motels. These motels have created problems that have resulted in high crime rates.

The Nuisance Motels Pilot Program, which was developed by the city’s Innovation Team led by director Tracy Colunga, would “hold property owners accountable for nuisance and criminal-related activities by accelerating administrative penalties and timelines,” according to Tuesday’s meeting agenda.

The team based its study and program from the time periods of January 2014 to May 2017, finding six motels including the Stallion Inn, Searle Motel, Colonial Inn, Luxury Inn, Travelodge location on Atlantic Avenue and the Greenleaf Hotel to be the worst in the city. Each of them have accumulated over 3,000 calls for city services and over 800 crimes logged, according to the Long Beach Post.

In the report presented to the council, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson detailed the benefits of the ordinance including curbing human trafficking, prostitution, drug use and violent crime for which these locations have become “hubs.”

One of the most problematic locations has been the Luxury Inn, where a murder occurred last April that required nearly 100 police officers at the scene for eight hours.

“Aside from the loss of life, this incident required over 80 police personnel to respond to this crime,” Richardson said. “Eighty police personnel were taken off the streets to address one motel for eight hours. Could you imagine what those police officers could have been doing if they weren’t addressing this one motel?”

In addition to bringing down extra and more frequent penalties against these motels, the program will also seek other long-term solutions, including “purchasing ‘problem motels’ and converting them into affordable housing,” as well as enacting programs to kill off these motels, according to the report.

The council will discuss the feasibility of the program, which currently carries no fiscal impact, according to the report.

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