Ferndale Denies Business License Renewal to 8 Wood Motel

ScottWrightadTOPFerndale Denies Business MBREW draft oneLicense Renewal to 8 Wood Motel

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 14, 2016)

Ferndale, MI – Ferndale City Council voted Monday night to deny the operating license renewal for the 8 Wood Motel on 8 Mile just west of Woodward. The 8 Wood is located just up the street from the Motorama, which also recently lost their license. Both motels are places where crime and drugs have been an issue for police.

The problem has even been fatal, with an overdose in 2015 leading the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team to stake out the 8 Wood and make a case against guests there selling drugs.

Police Chief Timothy Collins reviewed logs of police reports for both motels dating back three Schrock2015_SmilingFace_adyears.

The 8 Wood had 17 reports for 2015 according to Attorney Rich Patterson who represented owner Kim Patel. Patel has owned the motel for the past 20 years.

A recent robbery was of particular concern to Chief Collins. He explained that two homeless men had gotten a room and invited a third person to join them with alcohol and prescription pills. The man left to attempt to buy cocaine, but came back without success. When he got to the room he discovered his pills were gone. The other two men then robbed him and threatened him with a socket wrench. He went to the motel front desk and asked the desk clerk to call 911. The victim told police the motel desk clerk told him that they had called the police but no one came. He eventually made it into the room, got his phone, and called 911 himself.

“The victim insists he asked the motel to call [911]. The motel was deficient when requested to do so,” Chief Collins said.711 ad pizza

The Chief was also present for inspections of the property, which had violations such as evidence of smoking in rooms, cooking devices like hotplates and crockpots in rooms, and an outside storage area where mattresses and building materials were being stored outside under tarps with evidence of rodent infestation.

Patel’s attorney presented City Council with a list of things he’d be willing to do to improve the property and reduce the rates of crime. He offered to install more cameras to make sure all outside spaces had coverage. He also suggested that cameras in the office would capture images of all guests. Another is that they would number parking lot spaces and assign them to room numbers. Visitors would be required to check in at the desk to be assigned a space. And they offered to do training for all employees on recognizing signs of illegal activity and creating a “do not rent” list.

The attorney noted that his client had owned the motel for 20 years with no previous indications that GT ad 04the city had concerns.

“We’ve had less than a month to work on these issues,” he said.

Patterson also addressed the component of crime, stating “Criminal activity is unpredictable and Michigan courts have ruled as such.”

City Council did not see it that way however. “What drives my motivation is somehow the fact that the city doesn’t catch it does not exonerate the owner,” said Councilperson Dan Martin. “I view our responsibility is to create a safe environment.” He stated he appreciated the effort at making suggestions, but that “I have no confidence in its ability to implement them.”

Councilperson Greg Pawlica agreed. “These issues are not unknown by the owner. These are issues that should have been resolved long ago,” Pawlica said.

“What we have seen here is a lack of understanding, and a lack of care of what is going on… sidebar012stairsPast behavior is the best indicator of what will happen in the future,” Chief Collins said.

Mayor Pro Tem Piana explained her decision, stating “We have been concerned for the people staying there and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The decision to deny the license was unanimous. The City will notify Patel in writing and then he will have 30 days to request an appeal hearing before City Council for them to reconsider their decision.

The City has committed to helping connect long term residents with options for housing and resources for assistance when the time comes for the business to close.

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