Florence motel overrun with criminal activity ordered to close

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FLORENCE, Ala. – A motel in Florence had its business license revoked after having more than 800 criminal complaints filed for more than four years.

The Florence Inn & Suites motel on Florence Boulevard just east of Darby Drive was ordered to close immediately by the Florence City Council.

The council voted at a special called meeting where they voted on a resolution to revoke Florence Hospitality LLC’s business license.

The resolution passed by the council states, “Be it further resolved by the city council of the city of Florence, Alabama that the Mayor and the proper City officials and employees are hereby authorized directed to take any necessary action to ensure that said motel ceases to operate.”

“It was a special called meeting specifically designed to address the fact that the Florence Inn & Suites had allowed their business license to lapse,” Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks said.

Eubanks said the motel’s lapsed business license allowed the council to address the continuing criminal activity.

“It was essentially a hearing with representation from legal counsel for both sides and witnesses including the police chief as well as a representative from the drug task force,” Eubanks explained.

Eubanks said the witnesses provided in-depth details about how many reports and the types of reports that had been made at the motel throughout the years. Incidents included domestic abuse, drug abuse, and sexual assault.

Even after the Lauderdale County District Attorney’s Office filed suit against the motel’s owner in early July, Eubanks said there have been more than 50 additional calls made to the police.

“We had hoped that the business owner would take this information and really do some important safety upgrades and initiatives that would’ve allowed the business to operate in a manner that was more conducive to the residents but also to the surrounding business owners,” Eubanks said.

The city council said it would like to see the property repurposed for its best use, and if that is a motel, Eubanks said she would hope that new ownership would operate the business with the city’s codes and ordinances in mind, but most importantly as a good neighbor.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said the lawsuit filed against the motel’s owner in July remains active as his office monitors the situation to see that the property is, in fact, vacated.

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