Wheat Ridge hotel licensing plan moves to next step

Hotels and motels would have to clean up or shut down

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 10/20/21

In an attempt to find a solution to increased crime, loitering and the general level of sketchiness near Kipling and I-70, Wheat Ridge has proposed an ordinance that would add a new article to its …

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Wheat Ridge hotel licensing plan moves to next step

Hotels and motels would have to clean up or shut down

Posted

In an attempt to find a solution to increased crime, loitering and the general level of sketchiness near Kipling and I-70, Wheat Ridge has proposed an ordinance that would add a new article to its code of laws.

Council Bill 18-2021, an ordinance creating a separate licensing system for hotels and motels, would establish more stringent health and safety standards for short and long-term rentals. 

The city’s view is that adopting stronger local licensing requirements will increase pressure on operators to reduce illegal activities in hotels and motels. 

Police are routinely called to perform welfare checks and investigate suspicious persons and vehicles, disturbances, thefts, domestic violence, assaults, motor vehicle thefts, and prostitution in these establishments.

A document prepared by city staff calls the ordinance an essential tool to further combat economic blight in the city.

By the numbers

Within the City of Wheat Ridge, there are nine hotels with a total of approximately 972 rooms. These hotels represent less than .05% of the number of households and businesses in the city — but make up nearly 10% of service calls to the city’s Police Department.

A Motel’s perspective

In a written response to the proposed ordinance, Don White, Co-Owner of the American Motel, said compliance with new regulations would result in higher prices that would displace occupants and potentially shutter the motel that’s been in his family since 1986. He said his motel is focused on providing a comfortable place to stay at an affordable price. 

In his written statement, White refers to his company (consisting of four motels in three states) as a “small family business” whose guiding principals are compassion and respect.

White said his company has made $600,000 worth of capital improvements — some of which went toward hiring private security and installing lights and cameras — in an effort to curtail disturbances on the property, but they can’t solve all of the problems they face on their own.

“We need the City, police and social services to work with business owners like us to address the addiction and mental health issues that underlie a lot of the problems we see,” he said.

The second reading and final vote on Council Bill 18-2021 will be held Oct. 25.

In other council business, Wheat Ridge City Council voted to approve the annual police Body Worn Camera budget of $86,880 for 2021. The money goes toward the purchase of cameras, licenses, data storage and auto-tagging ability. The city entered into the contract with current provider, Axon Enterprise Inc., in 2019.

Body Worn Camera fees are part of the yearly Police Department budget.

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