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Peabody City Council questions hotel on license renewal issue

Posted by Bella Travaglini  July 7, 2010 11:05 AM

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The manager of a Route 1 hotel this week is attempting to bring the facility up to date on its innkeeper's license just days before he is due to appear before the City Council to report on the matter.

The Hampton Inn at 59 Newbury St. has been operating without an innkeeper's license since the end of December 2009, said Timothy Spanos, city clerk. The City Council called hotel management to appear before the board June 8 to explain why the hotel has not renewed the license or provided overdue reports to the Fire Department.

However, some time yesterday the hotel's new manager, Joseph Vancini, walked into the clerk's office with invoices in hand from ongoing work at the property and $50 for an application fee for a new license, Spanos said.

"The City Council will still take up the matter on Thursday," said Spanos. "At this point, it will be a report on progress (at the hotel). The fire chief is reviewing the invoices Mr. Vancini provided."

The City Council tomorrow night will take a vote on whether or not to accept the application for a new innkeeper's license, said Spanos.

The Hampton Inn has seen several general managers come and go over the past few months, said Spanos, which he believes may be part of the problem.

"I think it's more an issue of bad communication," Spanos said.

The hotel has also failed to provide some reports to the Fire Department regarding the replacement of sprinkler heads at the property and the status of emergency lighting that needs to be tested and inspected, said Spanos. Spanos did not know if the invoices Vancini provided yesterday would be sufficient for a pass from the Fire Department.

During a brief phone interview yesterday, Vancini said that the City Council hearing had been cancelled and referred additional questions to the hotel's corporate office for comment. No one from the corporate office returned calls from yesterday. Spanos said the council appearance had not been cancelled.

A city inspector on April 15, 2010 completed an inspection of the property, said Kevin Goggin, building commissioner, and the hotel's sprinklers were tested in March of this year when no major problems were noted.

Fire Chief Steven Pasdon did not return calls made yesterday inquiring on the status of the hotel's failure to provide reports to the Fire Department.

According to the city's assessor's office, the Hampton Inn was purchased by EQI Financing Partnership of Memphis, Tennessee in 2005. The corporation last year paid the city $138,733.89 in property taxes.

The City Council will take up the matter tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in the Wiggin Auditorium at Peabody City Hall, 24 Lowell St.

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