City condemns Auburn motel for lack of heating and hot water | Local News | Auburn, NY | Auburnpub.com
The city of Auburn condemned a motel due to numerous code violations, including a lack of safe heat and hot water.
City Manager Jeff Dygert said Grant Motel, 255 Grant Ave., was condemned by the city’s code enforcement office Monday afternoon. The city received a complaint about a lack of heat and hot water in the building last week.
The motel was one of several housing options the Cayuga County Department of Social Services used for residents facing homelessness, along with shelters and other lodging facilities. As part of the sentencing process, the city has worked with the county to ensure those displaced by Monday’s action have access to alternative housing. He said about 17 people were displaced.
“We are sensitive to the issues and challenges of the people who were housed there, and to county social services, but we have an obligation and responsibility to ensure that people are housed in appropriate and safe accommodation,” Dygert said. noted.
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The majority of the rooms in the property had no heating and many lacked heat.
Portable heaters were used in the bedrooms, Dygert said. Using these appliances for primary heating is a violation of code because of the fire hazard they can present.
“With the extreme cold we’ve had, and it looks like we’re going to get cold again this weekend, it’s not appropriate for people to be living in these conditions,” Dygert said.
Beyond the heating and hot water issues, Dygert continued, there was a “significant list of other code violations of varying severity” at the motel. That information is compiled by code enforcement and Auburn’s office of corporate counsel, he said, and those issues would need to be resolved before the building can be officially reoccupied.
County property records show that the owner of Grant Motel is Chandrika Patel, who could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
According to city records, the motel property has been the source of numerous calls from police and firefighters in recent years. In 2021, the Auburn Police Department was dispatched 74 times and the Auburn Fire Department was called 31 times. The previous year there had been 54 police calls and 28 fire calls. So far in 2022, police have visited the scene eight times and firefighters twice. Additionally, the motel owner owes $47,121 in property taxes dating back to 2018.
A few motel tenants refused to leave. Auburn Assistant Corporation attorney Nate Garland said his office is working to file a show cause order in the Cayuga County State Supreme Court to have the building vacated.
“With this cold snap we’re going through, it’s concerning that people (are) allowed to stay in accommodation that doesn’t have heating,” he said.
Garland added that certain minimum standards for how a home is maintained must be met.
“Upon inspection, it is clear that these minimum standards are not being met and not being met to such an extent that it is a cause for concern for the safety of those staying there,” he said. declared.
Christine Bianco, who was named Cayuga County’s commissioner of social services in January, said 12 people had rooms paid for by the county’s social services department on Monday, and alternative housing arrangements were made for those. people. She added that she understands there are other people who are paying for stays at the motel with their own money, and the county has offered information to some of the motel’s remaining occupants about potential assistance that the DSS of the county could offer them.
Concerns have been raised in recent weeks about issues at the motel such as lack of heat and hot water, adding that the county has been in contact with Patel, who “was working to get them fixed,” Bianco said.
“She had been working on it and I think she had definitely provided information that she was contacting the suppliers to try to come and see the hotel and the systems to try and get them fixed but I don’t think she has managed to get them done quickly,” Bianco said.
County DSS and city code enforcement went through the motel on Monday before the sentencing decision was made.
The county’s DSS case managers work with residents who are temporarily staying at facilities such as Grant Motel and try to ensure that housing conditions standards are met.
“We want to make sure the people we help have what they need, that they are safe, and that we are doing everything we can to help them,” Bianco said.
Managing Editor Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.