At a work session on Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners discussed, but took no action on, a disparity between emergency personnel responses to extended-stay hotels and motels compared to more traditional ones.
“There was some conversation of whether or not they got additional 911 calls from the regular hotels,” District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent said.
County staff looked at the number of calls for two extended-stay and two traditional hotels in 2015 and found what Levent called “a massive difference between calls at a regular hotel or extended-stay hotel.”
The two traditional hotels included in the research – Holiday Inn Express and Suites on McGinnis Ferry Road had 23 calls and Hampton Inn on Ronald Reagan Boulevard had 25 – had less calls than the extended-stay hotels.
“Value Place [on McFarland Parkway] … for the same number of months [in the] same calendar year, the number of events for that location was 84, so there’s a considerable increase there,” County Manager Doug Derrer said. “The number of events for [Sun Suites on Buford Dam Road in Cumming] is 211 for the same period of time.”
The extended-stay businesses are also cheaper for a week’s stay, ranging from about $320 to $500, while weekly stays at the traditional hotels are both around $1,000.
A nightly stay at Sun Suites – $79.99 – was less than half the price of a night at the other hotels – $154-169.
Levent said he has heard from law enforcement that illegal drugs are an issue at the extended-stay businesses.
“They said what they do is watch the frequent flyers that come in and out and watch for … probable cause to stop them because they think there’s a lot of drug cases going on,” he said.
County staff was asked to look at the information some years ago but did not formally present findings to commissioners.
No action was taken on the matter, and commissioners and staff will continue to see if any other variables, such as average number of guests or the size of the business, affected the outcome.
If a trend remains, Levent said he would be in favor of banning extended-stay hotels.
“If this shows to be correct that there is anywhere from three times to eight times as many calls in an extended stay as there is at a regular hotel,” he said, “if they’re that problematic, I would move forward on trying to figure out how we change our [unified development code] to not allow them anymore.”