Arlington Heights administrators put new rules in place on Tuesday to fine or even close hotels or motels deemed a “nuisance” for crime.
The so-called Nuisance Hotels Ordinance, approved by a 6-1 vote of the village council, comes in response to increased police calls to two south-town motels in recent years.
According to the rules, a hotel can be declared a nuisance if there have been, over a period of 180 days, at least three “incidents” – such as disorderly conduct, illegal use of weapons, mob, possession or delivery of controlled substances and prostitution – two “aggravated incidents” – which can include aggravated assault, felony sexual abuse and other crimes up to homicide – or five “alleged incidents “.
A suspected incident is one in which a crime was committed but no charges were filed, such as the knife attack that happened near one of the motels last month, village officials said. .
Once these thresholds have been reached, the village will notify the owner and schedule an administrative arbitration hearing at the town hall. A hearing officer can issue fines of up to $750 per incident, seek reimbursement of costs incurred by the village or require further security measures, according to the order.
Special hearings would be required for the temporary closure of a hotel for up to 180 days or for the revocation of its license.
Police Chief Nick Pecora could also institute an emergency closure for up to 60 days if there is an immediate threat to public safety or welfare, the order says.
But before the process even gets that far, village officials say they will warn hoteliers that they risk becoming a nuisance once there have been two incidents, one aggravated incident or two suspected incidents. This would trigger a meeting with Pecora, Village Manager Randy Recklaus, and the hotel owner to negotiate a voluntary agreement to resolve the issues.
Recklaus said he’s had these kinds of conversations with the vast majority of hotel managers before, but “we want to have something where there’s some accountability.”
Administrator Jim Bertucci, who recently took two trips with police patrolling hotels near Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads, said the order was long overdue.
“What I saw there was abominable in some of those hotels,” Bertucci said. “I dare say – I’m almost embarrassed to say this – in just two trips we were brought to these hotels for a couple of these issues.”
Administrator Tom Schwingbeck, who also accompanied the police, said the new rules do not go far enough.
“I read this and said, ‘Are we being too lenient? Do we need to pursue them harder? “”, Did he declare.
But administrator John Scaletta, the only ‘no’ to vote, said the new regulations gave too much power to the manager and village chief and were binding on hotels where there was no crime .
“I feel like I’m trying to kill a fly with a hammer,” Scaletta said. “I can’t believe we don’t have enough codes on the books right now to prosecute these offenders who are wreaking havoc on the village that we have to resort to such drastic methods. It’s so subjective and so broad , and it gives too much control to two people in the village.”
The order also requires all hotels to have security measures in place by January 1, including security doors, lighting, cameras and continuous digital monitoring of registers, checkouts, hallways. , halls, car parks, entrances and exits.