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San Diego County Digest

San Diego

December 17, 1985

An emergency ordinance intended to save the city's dwindling supply of residential hotels from demolition was approved unanimously Monday by the San Diego City Council.

The ordinance, which takes effect immediately, prohibits the city from issuing permits for demolition or conversion of residential hotels for up to one year. There are, however, several exceptions to the emergency ordinance, some of which were criticized as possible loopholes by those who wanted a stronger measure.

Included among the exemptions are provisions allowing demolition if a building is a safety hazard or part of an approved redevelopment project. Also, a property owner would be excluded from the ordinance if he applied for a demolition or building permit before Monday.

In addition, conversions or demolitions can take place if the developer seeking the required city permits makes a room-for-room replacement of the hotel.

Catherine Rodman, interim chairwoman of the residential hotel subcommittee of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, says she's worried that the safety hazard exception could backfire if property owners deliberately let their hotels fall into disrepair.

The aim of the ordinance is to protect so-called single-room-occupancy hotels, which house low-income workers and senior citizens on fixed incomes.

A permanent ordinance will be discussed Wednesday by the council's Public Services and Safety Committee.

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