As news of the hostage standoff at the broke during the early-morning hours of Aug. 31, many in Woodbury had the same reaction.
Why doesn’t the city just shut it down?
The comments on Patch stories and elsewhere on the Internet relayed a common concern among residents over criminal activity at the motel, where last Friday one of the hostages was shot by police and a Stillwater man now stands accused of 27 felonies, including attempted murder and rape.
Some argued that repeated incidents at the Red Roof Inn seem to fall under the state’s public and private nuisance laws, while others said criminal activity would simply move elsewhere if the motel were shuttered.
Patch asked Woodbury officials what recourse the city has in dealing with the Red Roof Inn. In a statement, City Administrator Clint Gridley said the city “shares the community’s concerns about the level of criminal activity at the Red Roof Inn.”
“It is our intention to be in contact with the hotel management to seek to improve the situation,” he said.
However, the city’s authority in regulating businesses is limited in general, Gridley said.
“The comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance identify specific locations for various types of development (e.g., residential, commercial, industrial and retail),” he said. “The Red Roof Inn is located in the B-1 ‘Office Park’ zoning district and hotels are allowed in this district. It is a privately held business that has been operating in the city since 1981 and is a legal conforming use.”
Still, the city will continue to use the tools at its disposal—, code enforcement and community development—to “keep Woodbury a safe community to live, visit and do business,” Gridley said.
The motel is for sale, according to the website LoopNet.