Slapping the Bel-Aire Motel with “chronic nuisance” violations could be easier said than done.
Ward 6 Alderman Cory Jobe wants to start going after problem residents and, indirectly, owners, through the city’s chronic nuisance ordinance. But Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow said it’s not that simple, even though police are called frequently.
“We have to treat each individual room or apartment as itself,” Winslow said. “So then we have to come up with two or three qualifying offenses within that time, based on that individual apartment or that individual room.”
That means even though police might be called to the motel four times in one day, it’s not considered a chronic nuisance if the service calls are to four different rooms.
The problem, Winslow said, is that permanent residents aren’t the problem so it’s difficult to pin down chronic nuisance violations. Some residents have lived at the run down motel for a decade or more.
“I don’t think any judge… is going to allow us to evict everybody in a multi-unit building because you have violations in two separate units six months apart,” said Corporation Counsel Todd Greenburg.
Aldermen will debate the idea again next week. The mayor’s administration is worried this ordinance will, among other things, adversely affect existing lien proceedings against the property, and displace residents before adequate replacement housing is found.