A Reynoldsburg motel that was closed by court order in early September will be allowed to reopen if it meets several restrictions included in an agreement negotiated with the city.
The franchise owner of the Days Inn, 2100 Brice Road, must abide by strict restrictions in order to remain open, City Attorney Chris Shook told City Council during its Nov. 22 meeting.
The city negotiated the agreement with the Days Inn owners, First Hotel Management LLC, and property manager Xia Vhang after Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Stephanie Mingo granted a temporary order to close the motel in early September.
"This is a four-year order that can be extended, with the option to ask for further restrictions," Shook said. "Violations could result in another shutdown."
According to the agreement with the city, which Mingo approved Nov. 16, there is a permanent injunction prohibiting the Days Inn from maintaining a public nuisance.
In addition, the motel can no longer permit cash transactions; must install enhanced security measures, including having a security officer on premises 12 hours a day, add more cameras and outdoor LED lighting; and guests must show a government-issued ID.
"What we did on Sept. 2 was take the strongest action we've ever taken and sent the strongest message that we've ever sent regarding criminal activity in this corridor," Shook said. "We did that when they did not follow our recommendations."
The Days Inn was closed after it was damaged in an August 2018 fire. When it reopened in October 2020, Reynoldsburg police noticed an uptick in calls to the property.
A month later, police met with motel management and made several recommendations to mitigate criminal activity on the property, Shook said.
However, he said, between October 2020 and May 2021, police responded to more than 700 calls to the motel and counted more than 80 narcotics offenses, 13 weapon/firearm charges, nine arrests for soliciting prostitution, nine drug overdoses, eight assaults and six domestic-violence complaints.
"We are not looking for short-term solutions on the property," Shook said. "We are looking for long-term solutions."
As to when the motel would be permitted to reopen, Shook said that depends on how long it takes to train the staff on the new restrictions and security measures.
The property will undergo quarterly reviews by Mingo in the first year of the agreement and then with city officials in every year that follows.
Joe Piccin, an attorney representing First Hotel Management, said the company is "anxious and willing to continue to serve the consuming public as safely as possible."
However, Councilman Stacie Baker said he remains skeptical about the motel owner's ability to follow through on the agreement.
"This business had the opportunity to do what's right and (Zhang) refused," Baker said.
Shook said he shares that skepticism.
"We are going to watch them like a hawk," he said. "We only have one hotel like this in the city. I don't think he thought we had it in us to shut him down."
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Agreement with Reynoldsburg would allow Days Inn on Brice Road to reopen