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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | CAMARILLO

Hotel Managers Assail Time Limits on Stays

March 11, 1998|DAWN HOBBS

If Camarillo decides to limit the amount of time guests may stay in a hotel, the city will drive away business, hotel managers say.

The Planning Commission has recommended that the City Council limit the number of days visitors can stay in a hotel to 60 in order to collect additional hotel taxes, Mayor Charlotte Craven said Tuesday.

The City Council voted 4 to 1 Feb. 25 to approve the ordinance, with Craven dissenting.

Tonight, the City Council will decide whether to adopt the ordinance. If adopted, the ordinance would go into effect in 30 days. It would require guests at Camarillo hotels to re-register after 30 days and then vacate the premises for 60 days after another month has passed.

However, hotel managers say there are several situations in which guests stay longer.

"Sometimes people come into town for a six-month job and don't want to get an apartment," said David Kierstead, general manager for Good Night Inn. "It would be unfortunate if they had to leave and go to another city that accepts guests that stay over 60 days."

Steve Troyer, area general manager for Country Inns, said he agrees.

Troyer said he had guests stay for several months after the Northridge earthquake before they were able to settle back into their own homes.

"There's nothing like this in any other city in the state that I'm aware of, and I've been in the business 25 years," Troyer said.

Hotel managers also said that if guests must re-register after 30 days, they will have to continue paying the hotel tax. Normally, a hotel does not collect the tax--which ultimately gets turned over to the city--after 30 days.

David Malone, general manager of Courtyard by Marriott, said he could see people choosing to stay in Oxnard or Thousand Oaks rather than relocate after 60 days.

"It's not just financially negative for our business," Malone said. "It's not hospitable."

Craven agrees, saying the city is only missing out on an estimated $25,000 in hotel taxes from long-term stays.

"If I had a business in town, I would resent it if the city passed an ordinance that would require me to either kick out my guests or break a state law" on how long hotel taxes must be paid, Craven said. "That's a heck of a position to put our business owners in."

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