Discussion planned on lifting hotel-stay limit in Urbana

URBANA — The city council tonight will consider a change to city code that would allow extended stays in hotels and motels, a "small yet important component" of the industry.

Council members are scheduled to meet at 7 tonight (Monday, Feb. 20) in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

In 1999, city officials approved a 30-day limit on stays in hotels or motels to battle what was then a trend of apartments essentially being rented as hotel units, according to city documents.

City officials believe that trend has now stopped, but the change to the city code burdened the local hotel industry.

Business owners noted "a need to be able to serve guests such as construction workers, university researchers and scholars, executive relocations, and even families waiting for their homes to be rebuilt after a fire," according to city documents.

Tonight, the city council could vote on another change to city code to accommodate that need.

The new rule would allow stays in hotels of longer than 30 days, as long as the hotel unit has an in-room kitchen and bathroom and meets all residential building and fire code regulations.

City documents note that a 30-day limit also prevents hotel units from essentially being rented as sub-standard apartments.

Building and fire codes are different for residential and hotel properties, and a typical hotel room does not provide for the kitchen and electrical needs that a long-term resident would usually need.

That can create fire hazards, according to city documents.

The new regulation would maintain the 30-day limit on hotel rooms that do not meet all residential building and fire codes.

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