Motorama Decision Delayed
(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 5, 2016)
Ferndale, MI – A hearing before Judge Langford Morris has delayed the decision about if the Motorama Motel at 8 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale will be able to continue operating or if they will have to close.
On Feb. 8, The City of Ferndale declined renewing the business license of the motel based on a review of police calls to the property and inspections by the fire department and the building department.
The owner of the motel, Phil Patel, appealed the decision at a March 1 hearing before Ferndale City Council, stating that he would be willing to make changes to his business if he could stay open. Councilmembers were unmoved and they again voted not to renew the business license.
Patel sued the City and is currently permitted to continue operating the Motorama until the matter is decided in court. A hearing had been scheduled for May 5, but due to pending motions, the hearing was postponed until June 1st.
The City of Ferndale began to look critically at Motorama and another motel, The 8 Wood, after a man died from taking tainted heroin that was sold by dealers who were working out of both motels. In Nov. 2015 the oc115 began publishing three years’ worth of crime reports and police calls to the Motorama. The list included calls for drug overdoses, assaults, robberies, property damage and domestic situations.
In addition to issues of crime, the City cited code violations as a reason to deny the license. The fire inspection report noted that many of the rooms did not have smoke alarms. Additionally six rooms had tenants using unauthorized cooking devices such as hot plates, grills and toaster ovens. Holes in the walls and ceilings were not properly repaired. The second floor above the owner’s apartment had an improper amount of combustible materials stored in it. A storage room was found to have gas cans improperly stored. The laundry room did not have a carbon monoxide detector. Other violations included obvious marijuana use (smoking of any kind in hotels is illegal in Michigan), an electrical panel not properly secured, and the use of an extension cord to run appliances.
Another concern was that many guest of the hotel have taken up long term residency, though the business license is for a motel and not an apartment building.
In the hallway after the court appearance, Patel said he does not understand why the city is going after him now, when he has owned the property since 2003 without any indications of problems. He said that he and his wife have made many improvements since they bought it.
He also said that he wants to stay. “Whatever the City tells me to do, I will do,” he said.
When asked about the drugs and crime he said “What am I supposed to do, pat down everyone who comes?” In at least one situation, a man arrested at the hotel and convicted for selling crack to an undercover police officer in his motel room was permitted to continue living there. When asked about that situation, Patel said “Maybe he went to jail and got clean. That was the past. You can’t judge someone based on their past.”
The case is expected to continue on June 1, 2016.
To read the police report summaries, go to:
Motorama Decision Delayed