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West Columbia 'nuisance' hotel granted more time to address concerns

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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) -- The West Columbia City Council postponed making a decision regarding the controversial 'nuisance' hotel , America's Best Value Inn.

The hotel has been at the center of controversy after dozens of incidents involving law enforcement have plagued the property in just the past few months.

Wednesday evening was part two of a special-called public meeting where community members, business owners, and council members discussed their experiences with the hotel. The first part of the meeting was held last week, to no absolution.

Officials with West Columbia recently introduced an ordinance targeting "nuisance businesses". The ordinance grants the Council the power to revoke the business license of establishments that have repeatedly had law enforcement called to the property.

America's Inn has since had its license suspended but Jake Moore, the attorney for the establishment --who spoke extensively at the meeting -- says the owners weren't given an adequate amount of notice or time to address the concerns.

Moore also threatened to sue the Council if they decided to revoke the license.

The inn has two neighboring businesses, a Holiday Inn and an Extended Stay, whose owners also spoke about the alleged trouble America's Inn has caused their businesses and customers. They cited that the business invites "unsavory" characters to the area, who solicit, rob, and harass their customers. The owner of the Holiday Inn also says that she has had a problem with people from America's Inn breaking into their pool.

Interestingly, both the owner of the Extended Stay as well as the Holiday Inn have previously owned the America's Inn property and building in previous years.

In a four hour long meeting, local residents living in the community voiced their concerns about everything from car break-ins, to accidents and solicitations they've experienced in the area.

"Everyday, I go in and out of my home office, every week, there's police, there's something going on at that hotel," said Terrell Chastain, a local businessman and homeowner.

However, one resident staying in America's Best, Douglas Holmes, Jr., says he's never had any problems and doesn't understand why the business is being punished for calling the police for help.

"I ain't never had no problems," said Holmes, Jr. "It just get too noisy. They call management; they take care of it. Sometimes, they have to call the police. You would think that's what they're supposed to do."

Ultimately, the West Columbia City Council decided to allot time for the city administrator to meet with both America's Inn owners and owners of the nearby hotels to come to a consensus and plan, to be presented to the council for approval at a later date.


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