- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - The owner of a Coralville motel that’s been under the threat of closure by the city has agreed to shut down the operation.

The 18-room motel and an adjacent apartment building will close voluntarily by July 1, J&M; Motor Lodge owner Mike Moreno said. His decision comes after he dropped an appeal against the city in November.

The city responded by allowing the motel to remain open through the end of the fiscal year.

Coralville had issued an order in 2013 threatening closure if the motel didn’t change its business model, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported (https://icp-c.com/1zGvm3a ). The city said the motel was operating as an apartment building without a valid permit and in violation of its zoning, because many of its occupants have lived there for years.

Moreno said he held on as long as he could, but knew the property would eventually have to be put up for sale.

“They took the course of action they felt the needed to,” he said of the city. “But we stuck to our guns and held on, and I don’t feel like I’m a loser leaving.”

Johnson County social services director Lynnette Jacoby said the motel has served as an accessible housing option for low-income people who may not qualify to rent elsewhere.

“It provides an affordable option, and for some of the consumers we see, it may be the only option for them to avoid homelessness,” Jacoby said. “From my standpoint, it’s a concern to lose that type of flexible housing.”

The closure means many occupants who have lived at both the motel and apartment building for years will have to find new housing. Moreno said he plans to give occupants 90-day notices.


Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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