Volume 7, Number 34 - November 15, 2007
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Motel, hotel owners question town council ordinances
Tuesday evening’s Pinedale Town Council meeting brought a number of motel and hotel owners and managers to Town Hall as a pair of ordinances defining “hotels” and “motels” were set for approval by the council on second reading.
After the council unanimously approved the ordinance relating to the definition of a motel on second reading, owner of Sundance motel Robert Brito voiced his concerns to the council regarding the language in the ordinance.
The proposed ordinance reads, “Motel’ means a building or series of buildings in which lodging is offered for compensation and which is distinguished from a hotel primarily by a reason of providing direct independent access to an adjoining parking for each rental unit. Dwelling units located within the building or series of buildings shall have consistent use as a motelwhere lodging is offered for compensation of weekly, daily or hourly rental dwelling units. Motel shall have on site housekeeping services, front desk management services and custodial services for the sole purpose of servicing those guests paying for said lodging.”
“If you take out the word ‘on site’ I’m OK with it (the ordinance),” Brito said.
Pinedale Town Attorney Ed Wood said the intent of the ordinance is to have staffing present.
“The purpose is to differentiate between apartment rentals and motels,” he said.
Brito said if his wife or he were to leave for vacation or any other reason the couple wouldn’t have anyone on site.
Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith asked the council for their feelings on removing “on site” from the ordinance.
Councilman David Hohl raised a question about safety in the case of an emergency.
He asked Brito what someone would do if Brito and his wife were not on site and there was an emergency at Brito’s motel.
“We have an emergency contact number on the front door and someone is always in town,” Brito said.
Councilman Gary Heuck said he was fine with removing “on site” stating that “if they aren’t on site they won’t get much business anyway.”
Wood said he didn’t feel taking the word “on site” out of the ordinance would hurt things.
Smith asked Wood to change the language of the ordinance before its third and final reading, which will take place at the next council meeting.
Following the motel ordinance, the council approved an ordinance defining “hotel” on second reading.
Again people in the audience spoke up. And again the council was asked to remove the word “on site” from the ordinance.
The ordinance proposed reads, “‘Hotel’ means a building, with or without individual kitchen facilities, occupied by transient guests who are lodged with or without meals, the rooms of which have primary access from interior public halls, and, in which building or portion thereof, there are or may be certain public rooms or halls for the service of food and drink, with or without entertainment, and other facilities intended to provide customary accessory conveniences or services normally incidental to and associate with such a use. Dwelling units located within the hotel shall have consistent use as a hotel where lodging is offered for compensation of weekly, daily or hourly rental dwelling units. Hotel shall have on site housekeeping services, front desk management services and custodial services for the sole purpose of servicing those guests paying for said lodging.
However, this time Smith said he felt the word on site should be left in the ordinance as there is a difference between hotels and motels.
Smith asked Brito how many rooms were in his motel. Brito told him 19. “When you look at a large national chain hotel you have anywhere from 80 to 100 or more rooms,” Smith said. “I think those guests expect the on site service.”
Clark Stithe with the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association was at the meeting on behalf of Brito and asked the council to consider rewording the ordinances to note that previous motel and hotel owners are grandfathered in; however, moving forward all new planning and zoning would have to abide by the new ordinances.
Smith and the council agreed to have Wood look at rewording the ordinances for clarification before their final reading.
“I’m glad they fixed the problems with the ordinances,” Brito said. “I’m glad they took out the word ‘on site.’ I understand where they are coming from. We just need to work together.”
In other town news:
• An ordinance relating to building and development standards for condominium developments passed unanimously on its third reading.
• An ordinance annexing land adjacent to Split Diamond development passed on its second reading.
• An ordinance relating to apartment requirements passed on its second reading.
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