Metro Council approves ordinance changes aimed at Economy Inn, synthetic drug shops
Louisville Metro Council voted Thursday night to strengthen it’s existing public nuisance ordinance.
Championed by District 10 Councilman Steve Magre, the change to the public nuisance law has been debated for weeks in Public Safety Committee. Part of the delay came from objections from the Greater Louisville Hotel and Lodging Association. Concerns were raised at the time that the way the changes were currently written could negatively effect their business.
“The greatest concerns are the potential effects if the language that we were offered is enacted,” said Patrick Gregory, President of the Greater Louisville Hotel and Lodging Association during an interview in September at a Public Safety Committee meeting.
After adjustments to the changes based on those concerns, Metro Council voted 24-0 in favor of the adjustment to the ordinance.
Some of the key changes include:
Adds murder and assaults to offenses that constitute a nuisance.
Adds trafficking in synthetic controlled substances, or spice, to the definition of criminal activity as a public nuisance. Spice was the subject of WDRB investigation earlier in the week.
Criminal activity in hotels is redefined to include at least five occasions per 100 rooms in the previous 60 days.
The owner of a property in violation of the ordinance can appeal to the Nuisance Code Hearing Board.
Magre said that much of the motivation to push for the changes to the ordinance came from neighbors who were upset with ongoing criminal activity at the Economy Inn.
“We've been singled out,” said Economy Inn manager Avis Zoma. “Its been all over the media. Its been out of the councilman's mouth saying ‘it's the Economy Inn, Economy Inn.’”
Magre says the changes will help to make a number of different places safer.
“This will be a new tool for police but also for other professionals that they can use to assure better responses,” Magre said.
Prior to Thursday’s vote, Zoma said the Economy had ten total arrests in September. Of those, Zoma says he called police himself on eight different instances. Now he questions whether he’ll continue to call.
“Officers are coming here daily to check on warrants,” Zoma said. “Basically what this ordinance is saying is we can’t contact the police department? We shouldn't have these people arrested? We don't want them here as badly as everyone else.”
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