Motel owners have reluctantly accepted a modified city ordinance that extends the motel occupancy limit from 14 days to a maximum of 30 days with a key provision that would extend occupancy for an additional 30 days in hardship cases. The city claimed when it enacted the ordinance two years ago that long-term residency in motel units leads to overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, cooking in units not equipped with kitchens, drug trafficking and prostitution.
In December the city filed a criminal suit charging the Filly Motel, located on Huntington Drive next to City Hall, with violating the ordinance. That suit was dismissed, but because it did not address the question of the constitutionality of the ordinance, the city staff has been meeting with Philip Lanzafame, an attorney representing six of nine motel owners in Duarte, to discuss a compromise.
Discussing the modified ordinance at Tuesday's City Council meeting, Lanzafame argued that problems at the motels are isolated incidents and that people have a legitimate need for long-term occupancy. But he said his clients would accept the compromise. The council is expected to take final action on the modified ordinance at its April 8 meeting.