An Old Motel Problem…

What is a “motel in condominium form of ownership?”  A major headache!

In the 1980’s this “land use” became popular as a number of motel owners sought a way to finance quick repairs to aging motels and then to escape the burden of operating the property.

“Condominium” is a form of ownership, not a land use. You can condominiumize just about anything.  Changes to ownership does not change the underlying land use. Thus a “motel in condominium form of ownership” remains a motel. As a motel the owners are required to maintain motel licenses, stays are restricted to no more than 28 days at a time, rooms taxes are required to be collected and a guest register is to be kept in a central office.

The fact that these “motels in condominium form of ownership” were motels, geared towards short term, transient stays, was lost on th buyers. Motel licenses were not renewed.  Stays extended beyond the normal vacation periods and generally exceeded restrictions on motel length of stays. For many they became summer homes, for some, they became year-round ones.  For the town it became a problem that won’t go away.

The problem is reaching  a boiling point. Many of these buildings need repairs. In other cases people are looking to sell investments they made many years ago. In either case, banks have shown reluctance to lend money to these “motels.” Disinvestment is a real risk.

The problem is also town-wide. Over the past two months questions about the status of these properties have come from Dennis Village, West Dennis and Dennisport. None of these villages want, or need, more under-maintained properties.

The Dennis Planning, Building and Health Departments are working towards a solution to the issue. It will require the creation of a new land use category specifically geared towards these properties.  Town-wide support will be important.

I will outline the proposed solution in the next few days.


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