HOMEWOOD, Ala., (WIAT) — Homewood will now have a cap on the number of days you can stay in a hotel. City councilors approved the new ordinance Monday night in a vote 9-1.
Councilor Mike Higginbotham was the only councilor who opposed saying, “All it will do is require people to check out of the hotel and turn around and check back in. There is no real way from preventing them to do that. “
Other councilors say their decision was based off defining what a hotel stay is according to the state of Alabama. Alabama defines a “transient” hotel visit as one that lasts no more than 180 days. After that point, lodging tax is no longer charged as the person is considered to be residing there. In addition to lost tax revenue, city attorney Mike Kendrick said hotels are not set up for long-term residency because they adhere to different building codes than apartment complexes.
Travel Inn owner, Ravi Patel, was the only owner present at city council. In the past, Patel said between a quarter and a third of this hotel residents stay at Travel Inn longer than 180 days, including some employees who live on site. He added that many of the guests are short-term contract workers, employees on construction projects like the I-59/20 bridge replacement. Patel quietly walked out of the meeting shortly after the vote was made.
Homewood hotels will now have a 180-day limit which could go into effect in July.