Status Update:  March 18, 2021

The City has adopted an ordinance to enable the conversion of hotels/motels to residences.  ATN spoke at the introduction of the ordinance on February 10, 2021 regarding the need to inform neighborhoods about this change, since there are older motels near intown neighborhoods.

As requested by ATN, staff held an online informational meeting for neighborhoods.  At that meeting, ATN representatives questioned whether the definition of “residential dwelling unit” could include housing types other than apartments (e.g., transitional housing or boarding houses).  City staff recommended that that the definition of dwelling units for purposes of conversion of hotel/motel units specifically refer to “efficiency apartments.” By using this definition, all units will be required to have sanitary and cooking facilities. 

ATN endorsed the ordinance as amended.  We also requested that the City facilitate further discussions between the local hotel/motel association and neighborhoods to discuss the likelihood of these conversions.  There has be no response from the City to this request. 

Background: (Excerpted from February 10, 2021 agenda item)

In September 2020 the City was approached by 2 separate developers inquiring about conversions of dated obsolete hotels to one-bedroom studio (micro-units) to adaptively re-use the properties in a residential capacity. The City identified the opportunity to enhance local housing stock and provide price-attainable housing. [City staff drafted an] …ordinance [that] proposes to amend the definition section of the code for “Dwelling Unit” to address conversion of hotel/motel uses to one-bedroom studio residences….

 Dwelling unit. The term “dwelling unit” means a single room or unified combination of rooms, regardless of form of ownership, that is designed for residential use by one family. The term shall include, but not be limited to, condominium units, mobile homes, manufactured housing, individual apartments and individual houses. When applied to the conversion of a previously existing hotel or motel into one-bedroom studios, three such one-bedroom studio residences are the equivalent of one residential dwelling unit.

 [Staff stated that the]…change will facilitate the adaptive reuse of aging and/or obsolete hotel/motel uses into the referenced residential use. City staff identifies potential opportunity for providing additional housing inventory particularly as it applies to “missing middle” housing (which is a spectrum of housing between large lot single-family housing on one end and high-rise, high density units on the other end usually lacking in many communities as a housing type) and providing more price-attainable housing in high activity areas of the City.

ATN Comments

ATN provided the following comments at the February 10 meeting:

ATN believes that citizen participation in city development processes is vital to a successful future.

The proposed ordinance, which could encourage the reuse of obsolete motels for residential uses, appears to have many positive aspects.  However, neighborhoods have not had the opportunity to review the ordinance. 

A quick survey shows a number of older hotels and motels along the edges of intown neighborhoods

  • Prince Murat near Midtown (1965)
  • Apalachee Motor Lodge at edge of Woodland Drives (1967)
  • Ramada Inn at edge of Indianhead/Lehigh (1970)
  • Courtyard by Marriott at edge of Magnolia Addition (1987)

ATN believes that this ordinance should be reviewed by both neighborhood and development stakeholders, just as the compatibility ordinance has been.

We ask the commission to direct staff to conduct informational meetings with neighborhood stakeholders.

Thank you.

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