After being temporarily closed in November, the Timberland Motel and America’s Best Value Inn have been granted transitional operating permits, but require further repairs and improvements before being allowed to reopen, according to Person County Health Department records.
The Timberland and America’s Best were closed in Mid-November as a result of an inspection required by an October Superior Court Consent Judgment.
According to the Roxboro Police Department, Superior Court Judge Cindy Sturgis signed a Consent Judgment Oct. 25, concluding a nuisance abatement case filed by the department against Padmavati 2021 Inc. and owners Harmanbhai and Shakuntlaben Patel.
Under the judgment, the property owners are prohibited from operating or maintaining a public nuisance at the Timberland location, or anywhere within the state.
The terms of the Consent Judgment also prohibit the property from being used for illegal purposes, imposes a more thorough guest screening process, limits access to the property to only bona fide guests and trespasses all unwelcome guests.
If the property owner does not follow the conditions in the agreement, the property could be subject to forfeiture.
The Timberland Restaurant is not included in the judgment as the restaurant and motel are owned my separate entities.
As the judgment required various inspections of the motel within 30 days of its issuance, it was discovered that the new ownership had not obtained all of the proper permits at the time of their purchase.
According to Health Department Director Janet Clayton, the Timberland Motel and America’s Best Value Inn, both owned by the Patels, were purchased in 2021 and the owners did not inform the Health Department.
Person County GIS data shows the Timberland Motel property sold March 29, 2021 and the America’s Best Value Inn property sold July 20, 2021.
After inspections were completed Nov. 15, permits were denied for both locations based on the presence of bed bugs.
Both locations were required to be closed until those problems are corrected and permits were acquired under the new ownership.
Since then, subsequent inspections of both the Timberland Motel and America’s Best Value Inn found no bed bug activity and transitional permits were issued Nov. 30, according to health department records.
However, a number of other improvements were found and required to be addressed by Person County Building Inspections.
At the Timberland Motel, inspectors found “a pattern of life safety violations inside the motel.”
“The most common life safety violation in the motel was the lack of protection for electrical and mechanical systems within the guest rooms,” the Building Inspections report reads. “There was a general lack of covers on the vent fans throughout the motel in the guest bathrooms exposing guests to unguarded vent fan blades. Additionally, there were multiple violations found throughout the motel of electrical cover plates that had been removed or damaged and that exposed live electrical wiring to the guest rooms.”
Inspections required all electrical covers to be replaced or securely fastened and other exposed electrical wiring must be brought into compliance with National Electrical Code.
“Another pattern found present throughout the motel was the exposure of guests to biological hazards,” the report says. “Fungus was present throughout the motel in the guest rooms and bathrooms. A mold specialist shall be required to identify and remediate the fungus issue inside the motel. A contributing factor in the presence of fungus in the motel is the asphalt shingle roof of all structures has outlived its useful life.”
The motel’s foundations, walls and retaining walls showed signs of cracking and stress due to settling and age.
According to tax records, the building was constructed in 1956.
Inspectors also bound a lean-to adjacent to the motel’s main office and boiler room built without permits and in violation of state building code which is required to be removed.
As the building was constructed in 1956, inspectors also uncovered possible exposed and chipping lead paint and possible exposed friable Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM).
Surveys for both must be completed to identify and abate the exposure.
At the America’s Best Value Inn, inspectors found several structural issues.
“The metal stairs and balconies of America’s Best Value Inn are corroded at the welding joints between structural members to the point that they are declared a life safety issue due to the possibility of collapse,” the report reads. “This issue affects both the safety of users of the balconies and stairs and the occupants of the guest rooms and offices below for both normal use and for fire egress.”
Inspectors also discovered a wooden staircase on the back of the building that was not constructed to building code and is not structurally sound due to wood rot.
The staircase must be demolished and replaced or completely removed.
County Building Inspections said an engineer’s survey is required to determine the structural stability of all the staircases and balconies and the repair or replacement method.
Similar to the Timberland Motel, inspectors found fungus in the guest rooms and bathrooms as the motel’s asphalt shingle roof has also outlived its useful life.
“Finally, the rear entrance to the second floor suite in the back building of the motel has a service entrance for utility lines directly above the exit door,” the report reads. “These utility lines are too close to the entrance and continued access to the exit door exposes occupants to utility hazards.”
The proposed fix would be to abandon and permanently seal the door or move the utility lines, the report says.
The issued transitional permits require the identified repairs and improvements to be completed.
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