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April 25, 2016
City files public nuisance complaint and asks court to take action against New Harbor Inn
COSTA MESA, CA — The City of Costa Mesa filed a public nuisance complaint against the New Harbor Inn, a rare civil abatement move that if successful will bring the blighted and crime-infested motel on Harbor Boulevard under court control.
“As we saw with a recent stabbing at a local motel, these establishments continue to be a detriment to our community and are havens for prostitutes, drug users and other criminal elements,” said Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger. “By taking this action against this public nuisance, the city council is trying to eliminate the unlawful use of the property.”
Since 2010, the New Harbor Inn generated nearly 1,800 calls for service and it is a known locale for drug storage and sales and multiple narcotics arrests. The motel is the source for a disproportionate amount of police calls.
In addition to the criminal activity, inspections at the New Harbor Inn have turned up multiple code violations over the years including substandard property maintenance and health, life and safety violations.
In March of 2014, 79 violations were found in 33 rooms and in August of 2012, the property received fire code violations after it was discovered that 30 rooms had no smoke detectors, there were improper exits, non-operational fire extinguishers and fire hazards caused by extension cords.
According to the complaint filed in Orange County Superior Court Central Division, the city is asking for myriad remedies enforceable by the court including but not limited to:
- Shutting down the hotel temporarily or permanently.
- Appointing a receiver or court officer to take over operations and assume management and control of the property.
- Requiring the property owner to comply with existing law and completely revamp its business procedures, hire armed security guards and improve lighting and other areas of concern.
Recently, the city and Costa Mesa law enforcement have had to increase enforcement efforts on motel operators whose properties have multiple calls for service and are the venue for criminal activity such as drug use and sales and prostitution.
In a unanimous vote, the city council voted in closed session to take this legal action against the New Harbor Inn. If the court grants the city’s request to shut down, or place a court-appointed receiver over the New Harbor Inn, that would be a major victory for residents and business owners who regularly have to deal with the criminal activity.
“Costa Mesa works hard to encourage and support our local businesses and residents,” Mayor Mensinger said. “But this drastic intervention is necessary given the pattern and practice of bad business operations.”
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