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Ferndale Denies Motorama Motel Business License Renewal

waterworkTOP_whiteFerndale Denies Motorama HowesLocationMotel Business License Renewal

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 9, 2016)

Ferndale, MI – The owner of the Motorama Motel has five days to appeal a decision made Monday night by Ferndale City Council not to renew their business license.

The Motorama Motel, located at the corner of 8 Mile and Woodward had long been a place where low-cost rooms and lax management attracted guests who were down on their luck or those looking for a safe place to commit crime.

But the April 2015 death of a 28-year-old man who had bought heroin in one of the motel rooms brought heightened scrutiny to the business. The man had left the motel and gone walking in the nearby neighborhood with a friend, who deserted him when he began to overdose and left him Pledge_side_blueto die alone on a stranger’s front lawn.

This was not the first overdose tied to drug sales at the motel, and after pulling three years’ worth of police reports it quantified something that police already had a sense of – that the Motorama had a disproportionate level of criminal activity.

Each year from 2013-2015 had over 100 calls for service, with 2015 reaching over 160, said Police Chief Timothy Collins. He also noted that motel management would not call to report petty crime or when trouble was brewing, only when it couldn’t be controlled.

He described the problems as human trafficking, drug abuse, drug sales, threats, overdose and deaths.

Reports of criminal activity were not the only problem. Inspections done by the fire department and building department documented a litany of safety issues including rooms with no smoke detectors, improper storage, broken bathroom fixtures, sub-standard plumbing, exposed wiring, unacceptable gaps at the bottom of room doors, hotplates and toaster chazzano game adovens in rooms, and other violations.  One room that had been damaged by a fire months ago had not yet been cleaned or repaired.

The hotel was notified about the license renewal hearing, and a manager onsite was aware of it when the oc115 called for comment (there was no comment). However owner Phil Patel did not show up for the hearing or send any representation.

Several residents attended the meeting to share their concerns. A woman living on W. Bennett said that people park on her street to avoid the cameras of the motel parking lot.

A representative from Hodges Subaru said that Meijer, which is located kitty corner from the hotel, has brought improvement to the area, and that it is “time to move ahead.”

There was concern about the impact of a vacant building or parking lot, though Mayor Pro Tem Melanie Piana said that the City would provide support to the property owner to help wrightADJENtallthem sell or re-purpose the building. Economic Development Director Derrek Delacourt seemed confident that the location would quickly attract interest by developers if it were to go on the market.

Another concern had by the public on social media before the council meeting was what might happen to the people who stay at the Motorama. The city has committed to helping people find resources that need them, and they will be given a reasonable amount of time to find housing.

“I never want to force a business out of our community,” Councilperson Greg Pawlica said. “I have great concern over the responsibility of the people managing or owning this facility. What topped it off was when we found that over 20 rooms were missing smoke alarms and over 20 [more] were missing batteries.”

Councilperson Raylon Leaks-May said her concern is with the residents’ safety and twsted_tavern_AD_more textinvestments in their properties, while Piana said “We need to focus on redeveloping this corridor into something that is beautiful and protects the health safety and welfare of our residents.”

Mayor Dave Coulter said that “what really caught my attention was the death of an individual on our neighbor’s lawn.’

Councilperson Dan Martin said he’d lost patience with the owner. “They do not demonstrate care or respect,” he said. “There’s no place for this in Ferndale.”

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