Northwood: City’s hotel complaint may be close to settlement

Larry Limpf

A lawsuit filed by the City of Northwood against America’s Best Value Inn, Oregon Road, appears close to being resolved.
Attorneys for both parties in a pre-trial telephone conference held June 29 with Wood County Common Pleas Court Judge Alan Mayberry informed the court the matter is close to resolution.
Judge Mayberry then issued an order for the city, represented by attorney Brian Ballenger, to submit an entry for dismissal or settlement within 30 days.
In March, Judge Mayberry approved a motion filed by the city for a temporary restraining order against the hotel after the city argued the business had become a nuisance and presented evidence of alleged health and building code violations and crime reports.
The restraining order didn’t close the hotel but directed its owners to correct the violations and prevent criminal activity.
“We have found the city officials including city attorney Brian Ballenger to be very diligent and professional in ensuring that the City of Northwood’s interests have been advanced so that continued litigation is unnecessary, Shawn Desai, attorney for the hotel, said last week. “During this difficult time period, my client has worked incredibly hard to ensure that America’s Best Value Inn reaches the highest levels of operational excellence and safety and further that America’s Best Value Inn continues its world-class renovations.”
The city didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Affidavits submitted to the court by Tom Cairl and Joel Whitmore, the city’s police chief and fire chief respectively, claimed their departments had responded to numerous calls the past two years at the hotel and warnings to its operators have gone unheeded.
“From May 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2019, the Northwood Police Department had its officers walk through the…facility 167 times in an effort to combat and deter crime,” chief Cairl’s affidavit says. “However, increased police presence was still not enough to deter the criminal activity…”
During that time there were 660 calls for service to the police and fire departments.
In May 2018, Chief Cairl and Bob Anderson, city administrator, met with new owners of the hotel and advised them the hotel had a history of violations and criminal activity.
In December 2018, Cairl, Anderson and Whitmore met with the desk clerk and notified management the hotel was still responsible for a disproportionate number of service calls. Cairl and Anderson went to the hotel again in May 2019 to warn the owners the hotel was still a nuisance and the city was considering legal action.
This past March, Desai told The Press his clients have made significant improvements to the hotel.
“In 2019 alone, America’s Best Value Inn has invested approximately $400,000 in a comprehensive remodel and renovation. Over 60 of the newly remodeled rooms boast granite countertops, new tile floors, fresh paint, new carpet, new flat screen TVs, new energy-efficient air conditioning units, and new refrigerator/microwaves. Moreover, America’s Best Value Inn has invested approximately $90,000 to reconstruct and repaint its parking lot and an additional $8,000 to replace all parking lot lighting with high intensity LED lights.
“Moreover, America’s Best Value Inn invested approximately $3,500 to upgrade and add to its 42- camera live-video surveillance camera system and has provided City of Northwood police officials with 24-hour remote access to the live-feed. America’s Best Value Inn is planning nearly $500,000 in investments in remodeling, renovation, and security, not just relating to the remaining 90 unrenovated rooms, but to the lobby and breakfast area and state-of-the-art security keycard-access doors. These and other renovations are being planned and scheduled,” he said.


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