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Metro Council Approves Nuisance Law Targeting Economy Inn

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Louisville's Metro Council voted unanimously Thursday night to approve an ordinance that aims to address problematic hotels.

The ordinance stems from issues at the troubled Economy Inn on Bardstown Road, where rampant crime and drug use have proliferated over the years. The motel received a 48 percent score on an August visit from the Metro Public Health and Wellness Department.

Under the new ordinance, the city’s public nuisance law will be altered to allow Metro officials to close a hotel or motel if there are at least five incidents (per 100 rooms) of criminal activity that the owners did not actively stop within a two-month period.

The ordinance differentiates between hotels and apartment complexes, and allows for law enforcement and code regulation officials to cite individual units that are problems in apartments or condominiums.

District 10 Councilman Steve Magre, who has been representing the area since February and sponsored the ordinance, said the previous nuisance law was too weak to deal with such problems like those at the Economy Inn.

"There were fights, there were police calls, police calls constantly," he said.

An attorney for Economy Inn owner Tony Yaldo has said city officials have unfairly targeted the motel.

Magre credited the late councilman Jim King for starting the push to "get control" of the problematic hotel.

"This ordinance is important," he said.

Magre added that city leaders cannot put responsibility solely on Louisville police for ensuring success. "It's not fair for the police department to do this job alone," he said.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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