Orange County motel under scrutiny by county for dozens of crime calls

·1 min read

There’s a push to get problem properties attracting violent crime under control in Orange County.

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The sheriff’s office and county leaders are putting the pressure on owners of what they consider nuisance properties to clean up or shut down.

During a hearing on Thursday, the owner of Raceway Motel on Orange Blossom Trail was put on notice.

The sheriff’s office and county officials made it clear they’re not trying to take away owners’ ways of living, but the crime has to stop. However, the owner doesn’t know what to do.

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Undercover deputies said they have witnessed drug sales, and there have been 19 felony arrests for drug possession.

Daniel Manzar with the Nuisance Abatement Board said when it comes to properties like this, the board “has specific authority but it’s limited by statues. The ultimate goal is to stop the abatement of the activity.”

The sheriff’s office pushed legislation that added violent crimes to the nuisance abatement statute. It was approved in 2020.

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Hotel owner Axaoi Patel told Channel 9 the county wants him to hire off-duty security, but “that’s not possible.”

Records show from February to last week, deputies were called to the property nearly 60 times.

In October, the motel will have another hearing to assess the progress that was made. Next steps could be fines and, down the line, Patel could lose the property for 30 years.

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