• We're a fun, friendly, and diverse group of planners, placemakers, students, and other folks who found their people here. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! Use your email address, or register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Capping Number of Motel Rooms

Otis

Cyburbian
Messages
5,164
Points
28
Has anyone got any experience with capping the number of motel rooms allowed in a community? We are a small resort community (7,500 permanent population) with over 2,000 motel rooms, and it has been suggested that a cap on new rooms would make the remainder more profitable. Any experiece/data? Any stagnation? Does such a cap stablize the demand for police and related community services? Does it lead to greater economic diversification?
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
Can you get away with it? If your reasoning is to make existing motels more profitable, I don't think so. Restraint of trade or something like that. If there is a demand for new rooms and you have a cap, they might develop just out outside your jurisdiction with worse impacts.

Police and community services tied to motel rooms? I'd be interested in learning more about your tourists. Around here we are told by the eco-devo folks that tourism is "clean money" with no secondary impacts on the community.

But it appears that you have almost as many motel rooms as housing units, which is probably not a good sight. If zoning is the tool, you can make it tough on new development by having high development standards. Dan Tasman is trying to stop his community from becoming an eyesore of an "auto alley" via regulation, and is finding it tough.

You need economic diversity. Perhaps pursue incentives for non-tourist business? I am trying to help promote tourism as an economic development strategy in my town...but I know that the job creation is the lowest of the low in terms of wages.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I have heard similar complaints, but from apartment owners. New, nice apartments with two bedrooms, attached garages, ample parking and attractive amenities are being built in the community. Some existing landlords, owners of 1960's- and 70's-era buildings, shapeless, made of concrete block, with metal-frame single-pane windows, etc., complain that the new apartments are making it hard to rent. If we don't want to have problems with vacant aprtments, we had better stop allowing new ones to be built.

My response, beyond it being illegal for us not to permit the ones that meet zoning and subdivision requirements, is that 1) people have the right to live in good quality housing; 2) the new apartments are attracting people who would otherwise not live in the community because there are no other decent apartments; and 3) that if the landlords would renovate their buildings to offer the amenities people wanted, they would not have difficulty renting.

I could offer the same comments about the restaurant owners who complain about the new fast food places coming to town.

The free market is working. Let it work.
 

Otis

Cyburbian
Messages
5,164
Points
28
Looking at my original post I just learned that I am an intern. All this time I thought I was a planning director. Oh well. Anyway, yes, motels affect the demand for services. We have a permanent population of 7,500, but on busy weekends, spring break, and summer we go up to about 25,000. We have to provide services for that many people. They all use water, generate sewage, and drive on our streets. Some drive drunk, just like they do at home. Some punch out their spouses, just like they do at home. Some leave their valuables in their cars and come back from a walk on the beach to find them gone. The upshot is we have to provide services for a population of 25,000 but pay for it with a population of 7,500. We have a room tax, which helps, but it doesn't go into the general fund, which is where police and other services are paid from.

The enhancement of return for existing motels is not the real reason for suggesting a cap on motel units. It's because we are facing a major budget crunch (we laid off police last year and may have to cut even further this year) and want to limit the demand for general fund services as much as we reasonably can.

As far as legality, I don't think it would be a problem. Public health, safety, and general welfare goes a long way. We have capped the number of motel units in one part of town (with exceptions for B&B's, vacation rental dwellings, and motels of 10 units or less). It seems to be leading to an interesting market for older motels and for approved but unbuilt units.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,297
Points
52
I still have to follow up to the thread that I started in the Economic Development forum regarding the situation in my town.

We've got a moratorium in place for vehicle-related uses -- auto dealers, parts stores, service stations, gas stations, and so on. The preferred option seems to be a cap -- 25% of linear commercial frontage max, with no more than 25% of commercial zoned land in town devoted to auto-related uses.

What justifies the cap? My employer is a small town with little opportunity to expand its commercial district -- we're between a county line and another incorporated municipality. Our comp plan and zoning code encourage the creation of commercial districts with a wide variety of uses; not just vehicle related. Vehicle related uses, especially auto dealerships, tend to agglomerate; because our commercial areas are limited, it won't take much to reach buildout. Considering the frequency and number of requests we're getting, without the moratorium in place all general commercial zoned land would be built out as vehicle-related uses before the end of the year -- yes, it's that bad.

We want to get sewer, but it would be a moot point if we built out as "Auto Row" -- thus, the use caps. What good is spending big bucks for sewer if the commercial uses don't need it?

I'm wondering if Rich Townsend's community has development aside from hotel rooms, and what greater public good would be served if there was a cap. Consider this ...

* My town -- essentially a blank slate, where the only development interest is from auto dealers and the like.

* Rich Townsend's town -- an established resort area. Does the presence of the resorts preclude other types of development, such as retail or dining? Is there room for annexation?
 
Top