Approved - 8 to 0

Item No. 3 - Hotel Licenses

Council Bill No. 18-2021 – An Ordinance amending Chapter 11 of the Wheat Ridge Code of Laws by the addition of a new Article XIV entitled Hotel Licenses and in connection therewith, adding reference to extended stay lodging in Chapter 26 use schedules
This is a recording of the October 25, 2021, City Council meeting.

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Item No. 3 ( 1.83 MB )

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Dear Wheat Ridge City Council, Enclosed is the written testimony of Sandi Monks, manager of the American Motel, opposing the hotel/motel ordinance, which is being submitted on her behalf by American Motel's counsel.
October 25, 2021, 10:57 AM
Ryan Sugden
Dear Wheat Ridge City Council: Enclosed is the written testimony of Don White, Co-Owner of the American Motel, opposing the hotel/motel licensing ordinance, which is being submitted on his behalf by American Motel's counsel.
October 25, 2021, 10:55 AM
Ryan Sugden
Dear Wheat Ridge Council Members: This letter is in opposition to the proposed ordinance to establish a Hotel Licensing Program applicable only to hotels that permit stays longer than twenty-nine (29) days. The signatories to this letter include 9to5 Colorado, InterFaith Alliance of Colorado, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Violence Free Colorado. This ordinance carries serious racial biases and will have a devastating impact on an already serious housing crisis. We ask that you vote no on this ordinance. We acknowledge that some believe that this ordinance will improve public safety, albeit we are unclear how the extended stay component in and of itself causes an uptick in crime. We also would have appreciated being a part of the stake holding process in the drafting of this ordinance. Thus far, community groups with great interest have not been part of the stake holding process. Per the proposed ordinance, a hotel or motel is eligible for this license only if it achieves and maintains a rate of 1.5 calls for service per room. This metric is inconsistent with community policing and racial justice principles and does not account for hotels and motels with greater occupancy. Under the ordinance, a hotel or motel is eligible for a license only if it achieves and maintains a rate of 1.5 calls for service per room. This metric is inappropriate for purposes of determining what business model a hotel or motel may adopt. Moreover, by relying on a calls for service metric, the City is penalizes hotels and motels that contact the Wheat Ridge Police Department for assistance. It discourages partnerships between businesses and law enforcement and presents hotel and motel operators with a terrible choice: call the police to request assistance and risk losing the ability to do business, or either ignore the issue or try to handle issues themselves, potentially putting staff and guests at risk. This metric also ignores a this fact: there are societal biases surrounding calls for service. Sometimes people call police on people of color who are suspected of committing a crime when they have not. There have been many well publicized incidents where police are called on Black or Brown people simply because they feel “uncomfortable” on account of their own implicit or explicit biases. Also, people call police when someone is in a mental health crisis. No crime is alleged to have been committed, but often, there is simply no one else to call. This provision of the ordinance should be revised to reflect this reality. Indeed, the City acknowledges that some calls for service are welfare checks and not for alleged criminal activity. Finally, establishing a calls for service metric is an arbitrary benchmark. The metric does not account for a hotel’s or motel’s occupancy. A hotel with low vacancy may have higher calls for service than an equally sized competitor, which suffers from high vacancy, even if they both have the same number of calls per guest, simply because the more popular hotel has more guests (and, thus, more likely to have issues arise). In effect, the calls for service rate penalizes properties with low vacancy rates. Simply stated, the city should not use calls for service as the metric for determining whether a motel is entitled to offer extended stays. The ordinance will further destabilize an already unstable affordable housing issue and create serious consequences for the City. In order to qualify for the special license in this ordinance, the hotel must add several amenities like kitchen appliances, and increase the square footage of guest rooms, and more. These requirements are onerous and make no sense on several levels. First, proponents of this ordinance claim the ordinance promotes public safety. However, the ordinance requires hotel and motel operators to spend millions of dollars to modify their properties, but these improvements have no connection to public safety. Rather than promoting public safety, the requirements in this ordinance will make extended stays unaffordable to those that now rely on such stays. Complying with these requirements will cost motels potentially millions of dollars, and these costs will undoubtedly raise the price of hotel stays, making such extended stays unaffordable for many that now rely on such stays. The City through this ordinance is seeking certain motels to change their business models to serve a more affluent clientele, which will have a disproportionate impact on minority and lower-income communities. The ordinance appears designed to either eliminate extended stay operations or force owners to change their business models to serve a different clientele. Both are improper objectives that will disproportionately affect lower-income communities. Extended stay hotel guests include temporary workers who rely on economy rates to take temporary jobs far away from home, budget conscious travelers, and yes, individuals experiencing homelessness or fleeing domestic violence. Extended stay hotels do serve a needed housing option in Wheat Ridge for needy individuals and those in transition. These lower-income populations use extended stays to fill a critical housing gap. In this regard, extended stays offer an affordable temporary housing option. Many extended stay guests may be unable to pay an application fee, pass a credit and background check, and pay the security deposit and first and last month’s rent that many landlords require. Extended stays are available immediately, whereas securing a lease can take weeks, and that is unacceptable for individuals or families who are suddenly evicted or needing to leave an unsafe or unhealthy housing situation. Extended stay motels should not be the exclusive housing option for anyone. But our reality is they are one piece of an increasingly difficult housing puzzle. This ordinance removes this piece. This ordinance is the wrong answer to true public safety issues. Rather, it seems designed to eliminate extended stays altogether given the many hurdles it establishes in order to qualify for the special license. This risks greater housing instability and to no good end. We urge a no vote on this ordinance.
October 24, 2021, 9:15 PM
denise maes
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