The City of Arnold reached an agreement with Value Place, the Wichita, KS-based hotel chain, to avoid closing the national franchise’s location near Arnold Commons.
Value Place rents hotel rooms for weeks or months at a time.
Arnold police have responded to more than 200 complaints and conducted numerous arrests at the franchise in Arnold over the last 22 months, reported KSDK, a Gannett-owned St. Louis TV-news station.
Three people were charged with drug paraphernalia possession at the hotel on April 4, stated an Arnold Police Department news release over the weekend.
The city planned to close the business and scheduled a news conference on April 1. The franchise’s local manager called to meet with city managers and agreed to improve hotel security and strengthen its rental policy, City Administrator Matt Unrein said.
Value Place must pay for the 24/7 presence of an off-duty, uniformed Arnold police officer in the location’s reception area, City Administrator Matt Unrein said during the City Council meeting on April 7.
The city will not pay for the police officer, Unrein said.
The local franchise also agreed to 36-month background checks of prospective renters. The Arnold location will refuse room rentals to people who have a sex-offense or drug-related convictions within the background check, Unrein said.
“This is a 90-day evaluation, an open-ended agreement, and we can shut them down or continue the evaluation period,” Mayor Ron Counts said during the council meeting.
Residents with children living in a subdivision near the hotel were upset that no one warned them about numerous offenses.
“I know this is not a good answer, but it is the answer: Those people have rights,” City Attorney Bob Sweeney said about the legal premise that people are innocent until proven guilty.
The Arnold Police Department needed to compile evidence and build a case against the hotel corporation, Sweeney said.
Residents were not told about the investigation because police officers did a good job containing the suspicious activity, Sweeney said.
“And we are there making the arrests and responding to calls,” Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey said about the investigating officers.
The Value Place in St. Charles has been a quality business and done well, Unrein said.
Law-breakers usually find and attack a soft target, Unrein said.
The hotel’s changes will be a deterrent, and the suspicious activity will have to go somewhere else, Unrein said.