After closing down the Waverly Motel last week in an emergency meeting due to serious codes and fire safety infractions, the East Ridge Housing Commission voted, 4-1, Monday to allow the troubled business to resume operations.
“You’ve been pro-active,” housing commissioner Earl Wilson told Waverly officials after making a motion to allow the business to resume operations. “Now, get involved with the community. Show your neighbors the changes you are making and get rid of the stigma that’s attached to the Waverly.”
Last week code enforcement officers were called to the the Waverly after police made several arrests at the motel located at 1503 McDonald Rd. Codes officers found the 20-unit motel rife with deficiencies. The city’s Fire Marshal also found that 17 rooms had no working smoke alarm and fire extinguishers were insufficient.
During a May 8 emergency meeting of the housing commission, the board voted to suspend operations until the building could be brought up to code.
At Monday’s meeting, Rob Carden, an attorney representing the Waverly owners, told the housing commission that smoke detectors had been installed in all the rooms. He said other code violations, including problems with electric and plumbing systems had been addressed.
Codes officials agreed. They told the board that all the problems had been addressed, save for two rooms. An Official from the Hamilton County Health Department said he inspected the motel and that it passed his scrutiny.
Attorney Carden told the board that the owners would adopt a new set of rules for people staying at the Waverly. Those rules include: no stays beyond a week; all guests would produce a drivers license for identification; no more than four guests would be allowed in a room; and no guest could have more than two bags.
In addition, Carden said the owners had installed 11 surveillance cameras to assist in security.
These measures weren’t enough for some residents who attended the meeting. Housing Commission Chairman Jim Winters allowed residents to voice their concerns prior to a vote.
Randy Sewell, who has lived nearby for 25 years said that the Waverly had generated 400 calls to police in recent years. Those calls included assaults, prostitution, concerns of drug dealing, and overdoses.
“(The owners) have no respect for this community, no respect for the neighborhood, they don’t even respect their own business,” Sewell said. “History will repeat itself. We can’t co-exist with them and the neighborhood.
“At some point in time you’ve got to say we’ve had enough,” he said.
Rick Nash, who has lived on nearby Heather Street for 18 years, said that a nearby “meth house” was visited by Waverly clients. He said he watched people walk from the Waverly to the “meth house” and back to the motel on numerous occasions.
Nash said that a fence along the property bordering the Waverly had been breached by motel guests, allowing access to the McDonald Heights area’s backyards.
When Commissioner Wilson suggested that a new, higher fence with barbed wire should be constructed around the Waverly at the owners’ expense, someone from the audience called out, “I suggest you build a watchtower and put a machine gun in it.”
Commissioner Lynda Stephens seconded the motion to allow the Waverly to reopen, she had a comment to the owners. “There’s a lot of anger on the shoulders of the residents,” she said. “They don’t believe you can do it. Let’s prove them wrong.”
The sole “no vote” was cast by Commissioner Kenneth Rogers.
The Waverly was ordered to give a status update at the housing commission’s next meeting in June.