A motel in Fortuna in Northern California that has a reputation for trouble, including numerous cases of disorderly conduct and burglary, is going to be renovated by its owner after being deemed a public nuisance, the Times-Standard reports. The owner of the National 9 Inn, Roshan Patel, has received three notices to fix his motel, according to Community Development Director Liz Shorey.
Fortuna Police Department office supervisor Robin Paul reported that after the police responded to 120 calls from the motel in 2013, there have been 36 more this year, with a total of a staggering 1,455 service calls since 2001. He told the newspaper:
I would say that’s an excessive amount of calls. What we see typically is people at the National 9 may be individuals we’ve been dealing with that could be homeless and have secured a location to stay for a short time, whether it’s a week or a month. Generally, we get some type of disturbance going on and an officer is sent to the motel to assess the situation and decide what kind of response it is.
FPD Chief William Dobberstein added, according to the Times-Standard:
Typically, at any one time we have three people on duty — one sergeant and two officers — and if we receive a report of a fight, all three will respond until the situation is stable or another call comes in, because fights and domestic violence typically require at least two officers. This kind of response is taxing on our resources and does have an impact. I’m sure the city’s goal is to make it compliant and a business that doesn’t receive daily police services calls, which will mean that our resources won’t be so taxed.
Shorey argued that the city is primarily concerned with the structural problems with the hotel, saying, “The reasons for the public nuisance are dilapidated and unsafe building conditions, owner improvements that are incomplete and made without building permits or licensed contractors, resulting in unsafe conditions for the people living in the units.”
Patel told the newspaper, “I have a daughter and another child on the way, and it’s a safety concern because of all the drugs and alcohol activity. The city was coming to me to fix the motel, so I’m going to change the clientele, the name of the motel and the image itself. Nobody wants to come here because of the outside, and by changing that, people will want to come.” He thought the repairs would cost an estimated $250,000-$350,000.
The motel has reportedly been frequented by homeless people, encouraged by Patel’s permission for them to use water, charge their phones or borrow money. But he’s changing his policy, telling the Times-Standard, “I’m going to make sure that once the remodel is done they won’t stay around the motel anymore, and one way of that is removing the outside plugs where they charge their phones.”