The Hampton Inn has two months to clear up parking issues at its 230 Lee Burbank Highway location. The business was before the License Commission on Wednesday, March 16, facing multiple complaints of ongoing fire safety violations for cars being parked in the fire lane.
The hotel has 294 parking spots on-site: 194 it uses for its own guests and for a stay and fly program, and another 100 it leases out for an independent park and fly program run by Select.
“This is kind of an ongoing issue at the Hampton Inn, and it has been a problem since Select has come over to the hotel as the company that is running the park and fly,” said Deputy Fire Chief Paul Cheever.
Beginning in 2019, there were seven violations related to parking in the fire lane at the hotel. Cheever said the issue died down during the COVID-19 pandemic when business was low at the hotel and parking lot, but he said the problems returned earlier this year. “Starting up again in February of this year, we got multiple calls to the property,” said Cheever. “People staying in there didn’t feel safe based on the egresses being blocked by vehicles. I went there the other day, and there were 18-wheeler cabs parked in the backside of the building, so you wouldn’t be able to get around.”
Cheever said the situation can get so bad that emergency vehicles would have to park on the highway to access the hotel, creating safety issues for the emergency personnel and anyone potentially needing assistance at the hotel.
James Cipoletta, the attorney representing the Hampton Inn, said the hotel recently hired an outside parking company, VPNE, to study and address the parking issues at the hotel over the next 60 days.
Cheever initially recommended the License Commission temporarily suspend the Hampton Inn’s parking lot license, but the new manager of the Hampton Inn promised that there would be better policing of the parking to make sure there are no vehicles in the fire lane.
Jim Marcotte, the operator of the Select park and fly portion of the lot, also noted that there have been issues with other nearby businesses using spots that belong to his business or the hotel. License Commissioner Linda Guinasso said Marcotte should be able to keep a closer eye on which are the vehicles he is responsible for, and which vehicles do not belong in the lot.
Cheever said that while the hotel is addressing the parking issue it should also put something in writing with a local tow company that it has the right to tow any private vehicles parked in the fire lanes.
License Commission Chair Robert Selevitch said the business will be back before the commission in 60 days for an update. If there are any violations before that time, he said, a special meeting could be called to suspend their license indefinitely.