Pioneer Motel, 8835 Ogden Ave.BOB Uphues/Staff

A pair of motels on Ogden Avenue in Brookfield must resolve a host of code violations by the end of March or risk fines of up to $750 per violation per day.

On Feb. 26, the village director of building and planning, Keith Sbiral, sent notification letters to the owners of the Brookfield Motel, 8809 Ogden Ave., and the Pioneer Motel, 8835 Ogden Ave., stating they had 30 days to correct the violations and submit to re-inspection.

Inspectors from the Brookfield Fire Department and B&F Technical Code Services Inc. made unannounced visits to both motels and noted a raft of code compliance issues — from faulty exhaust fans to peeling paint, torn carpeting and the presence of cooking devices.

One unit at Brookfield Motel, according to the inspectors, showed evidence of hoarding by the tenant.

According to Sbiral, the inspections were a reaction to what he called “resident-based” complaints about the appearance of the two motels. Neighbors, he said, had emailed Village President Michael Garvey and called village hall complaining about the motels.

“They were frustrated with what’s going on there and that it looks run down,” said Sbiral, noting that the intent of the inspections was to ensure the safety of the tenants.

“The goal is not to shut them down,” said Sbiral. “It’s to make them safe. We want the buildings to be safe and we want the codes to be met.”

The village’s code specifies that the inspections are to be done annually though it’s been at least a couple of years since the inspections were last performed. According to Bharat “Bob” Shah, the owner of the Pioneer Motel, inspectors from the building department, but not the fire department, visited his business two years ago.

After that visit, Shah said he made $12,000 in repairs to the motel. He expects to have to spend another $3,000 to $3,500 to correct the violations noted in the nine rooms and common areas of the motel.

Inspectors at Pioneer Motel noted minor infractions, such as peeling paint and mold in the bathroom of one unit. But they also noted that the rooms appeared to be inhabited by tenants over long periods of time.

As a result, inspectors reported widespread use of things like toaster ovens, microwave ovens and refrigerators. Six of the nine rental units also had space heaters and five units were either missing or had non-working smoke detectors. Excessive use of extension cords and power strips was widespread at Pioneer Motel, according to the inspection report.

Shah said he’ll address all of the violations noted by inspectors.

“It’s their duty,” Shah said of the unannounced inspection. “We don’t mind.”

Inspectors had similar issues at Brookfield Motel, which has 20 units. Problems noted in units there included torn carpet, inoperable or missing exhaust fans, excessive use of extension cords and inoperable or missing smoke detectors. In addition, two of the units at Brookfield Motel have cooktops that aren’t vented to the outdoors, according to the report.

“Whatever they say, we fix it,” said Vashi Parikh, who has owned the motel since 1977.

Parikh said it had been years since inspectors last visited the motel and blamed the visit possibly on a disgruntled former tenant.

While the signs outside the businesses say “motel,” they operate more like apartments for people who otherwise can’t get leases due to poor credit or troubled personal backgrounds.

Long-term rent at the Pioneer Motel runs about $200 a week, and the business has loyal tenants. One man has lived at Pioneer Motel for 12 years — Shah inherited the tenant when he bought the property in 2007. Another has lived at the motel since 2009.

At the Brookfield Motel, one tenant has lived there long enough that the inspectors noted an “excessive amount of belongings (hoarder).”

Three of the tenants at the motels are registered with the Illinois State Police as sex offenders, according to the agency’s online sex offender registry.

Sbiral said that a third business, the Colony Motel at 9232 Ogden Ave., would be inspected at the time the Brookfield and Pioneer motels undergo their re-inspections to determine code compliance.

Sbiral said the building department has not received complaints about the Colony Motel, which is why it wasn’t inspected last month along with the two others.

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