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Back in the business of hotel inspections

The St. Charles County Council approved a bill at their July 23 meeting enacting a new ordinance related to inspections and setting inspection fees for hotel and motel facilities. The county will now require lodging establishments to apply for a two-year permit.

The fee for the permit will be $450 and applicants’ facilities will be inspected at least once every other year. The county will be able to suspend any operation permit for violations and violators will be subject to a $500 fine or 30 days imprisonment or both.

Lodge establishments are defined as any building or facility with five or more guest rooms, which includes motels, hotels, bunkhouses, apartment hotels, or cabins. The definition doesn’t apply to dormitories or living or sleeping facilities owned or maintained by private and public schools, colleges, universities or churches unless they are made available to the general public.

Hope Woodson, the county’s department of health director, said the inspections were handled by the county before 2008, when they were taken over by the state. The state wants to turn the inspections back over to local government. About 50 establishments in the county are affected, she said.

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