SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – After dozens of residents were forced to leave an Upstate motel, we’re taking a closer look at its history.
More than three dozen “Notices of Violation and Order” have been issued at the Spartanburg Motor Lodge by the Spartanburg County Building and Codes Department since 2015.
“We just don’t understand why we – us – as people get kicked out on the street for no reason,” said resident Travis Park back in June.
Spartanburg County officials said there was a reason: the property was condemned because of sewage problems.
And, records show that this is just the latest in ongoing issues with the motor lodge.
In 2015, there were orders to repair the roof and a receipt from Terminex shows the property got treated for bed bugs.
In 2016, some rooms were condemned because they were not secured.
In 2017 some structures on the property were condemned for major roof damage, a dilapidated structure, and a sewer pump not working.
Roof repairs were made in 2018, but also that year there were issues of “excessive trespassing.”
This year, there were notices to clean up the property, board up doors, and fix the sewer.
Then, condemned signs went up last month forcing out more than 100 residents.
“They’ve been trying to condemn it for years. They finally did brought a lot of things to Mr. Chuang’s attention that he didn’t know,” said Jon Pilgrim, who lives and works at the property. “He left me and my wife in charge so we’re just doing what we can.”
Dr. Ying Chuang of College Square Hospitality is listed as the property’s owner.
Pilgrim said they’ve been working to clean it up since the last set of issues.
“We’ve fixed all the sewage and drain problems. The plumbing is all fixed,” Pilgrim said. “We’ve torn the carpets out. Emptied out the rooms, cleaned out the rooms and now we’re beginning to cut the drywall so we can replace the bottom three feet of drywall.”
He said they cannot live in the building because it’s technically still condemned.
“We have a list of 10 people that are workers, there are five of us that are 24 hours and then we have 5 more that come just during 8-5 to work and we’ve been going by that list,” Pilgrim said. “Until we have a final inspection where they okay us to open it back up – us workers – we’re allowed to take showers and use the bathrooms but we’re not allowed to live or sleep in the building.”
Pilgrim said he’s also trying to keep out trespassers.
“I call the deputies and they’ll be out here in a minute to come and get them,” he said.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s office says there were about 130 calls there in 2016, over 200 in 2017, almost 500 in 2018 and more than 230 so far in 2019.
The calls varied in reason from disturbance calls, warrants, shots fired and medical/fire calls.
“That’ll be torn down because that’s where all the drug activity used to be and the county really frowns on that and so do we,” said Pilgrim, motioning towards the other buildings on the property.
Some residents pay $150 per week, according to Pilgrim, and others work at the property in exchange for housing.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t have a place to go. Low rent housing is, you know, sparse around here,” Pilgrim said. “We have senior citizens that stay here. They’re on government checks. So they only have so much and they can’t spend their whole check on the rent because what are they gonna eat the rest of the month.”
Records show the property owner was summoned to appear before a magistrate judge in Spartanburg County on Thursday for the most recent violations.
List of calls provided by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, including top 15 call types for each year and number of shots fired calls.
|Disturbance with Weapon||3||5||7||4|
|Breaking and Entering||–||3||–||–|
|Suspicious person with weapons||–||–||–||2|
|Medical & Fire Calls||49||56||84||48|
1 2019 calls are from January 1 through June 20