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New Proposal To Shut Down Motel

Updated: Monday, July 14 2014, 10:21 AM CDT
SPRINGFIELD -- Another chapter in the Bel-Aire Motel's saga is unfolding.

Alderman Cory Jobe is proposing another way to shut down the troubled motel. But mayor Mike Houston may not be on board with the plan.

Just last week, Jobe demanded the motel be shutdown within ten business days. That plan saw roadblocks from the mayor.

Now, Jobe's proposing a resolution, asking the police chief to enforce the nuisance ordinance in order to shut it down.

The mayor says he doesn't think that's what the ordinance was meant for when it was created.

Houston says the city is already taking legal action against the Bel-Aire Motel, and he wants to let that action play out in court.

Right now, the motel owners are fighting the $114,000 in fines they owe the city of Springfield.

"What we're really trying to do is to pursue the legal process, which is a slow process, but that is what is called for," Houston said.

But for Jobe, the legal process is too slow and he says this fight has been going on far too long.

"I'm trying to find ways to speed that up because I think our constituents are concerned about it, I think the residents should be concerned and want to live in a better place," Jobe said.

The ordinance, already on the books, says any person causing a nuisance as well as the owner, occupant, or lessee of the land on which any nuisance exists, must correct it.

Jobe wants to use that code against the owner of the motel.

But Houston says he doesn't want to give the owner any reason to retaliate because eventually they'll be able to foreclose on the lien.

"That's the legal process and that's the process we have to follow, because if we don't follow it we risk putting the city in the position of being liable," Houston said. "And the last thing I want to happen is for the owner to sue the city of Springfield and collect from us as opposed to us collecting from him."

On that point, both Houston and Jobe agree, eventually the city will take over the motel, leaving dozens of people without a home.

Jobe has already started conversations with local agencies.

"There's already been talk about this for quite some time, but now people are starting to take us a little more serious in terms of what number of units could be out there, what are the avenues, and I hope to have some more information on that in the next few days," Jobe said.

This debate over the Bel-Aire Motel has become highly politicized and we asked Jobe about that today.

He says he's just doing his job as a public servant and this is what matters to his constituents.

He will propose his resolution next week at the city council meeting, New Proposal To Shut Down Motel
New Proposal To Shut Down Motel

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