City of Everett files in court seeking to condemn, take Waits Motel
EVERETT — The city filed its condemnation request against the Waits Motel, 1301 Lombard Ave., in Snohomish County Superior Court Aug. 28, seeking the motel owner to immediately hand over the property under eminent domain. The action came after the city wasn’t able to make a deal to buy the motel.
The Waits’ owner has until Sept. 11 to respond to the condemnation petition.
The property at 1301 Lombard Ave. was assessed this year at $2 million, county records show.
The city was awaiting a decision as of last week, and if successful would present a purchase-and-sale agreement to the council, city attorney David Hall said last week. The money would come from the city’s general fund.
A group of people currently live long-term in the Waits. The city has hired a relocation service to assist with moving them if the city gets the property, Hall said.
Hall also clarified that the city is not engaged with a developer for the property.
The motel has 24 rooms.
Four rooms were closed by a health officer’s order after testing found meth and fentanyl residue. The Waits itself had raised the alarm. A professional remediation was done and post-cleanup lab tests show the rooms are now below state contamination levels, according to the cleanup firm’s July 17 report obtained through county records.
However, another step to lift the order hasn’t been done, according to the health department.
State law “requires a written work plan for decontamination” on what steps would be taken as to how it would be cleaned up which the health department would review and sign off on, county health department spokeswoman Kari Bray said, and she said the health department hasn’t received this written plan yet as of the Tribune’s Sept. 1 press time.
The condemnation’s backstory is that the city labeled the Waits as a neighborhood blight as its reason to condemn it on two criteria available in state law: It constitutes a threat to public health and welfare and has had much drug activity in the past 12 months.
Since March, though, those numbers have declined as the motel’s been going through a major turnaround. The motel’s manager pushed out drug abusers and had been rehabilitating the rooms.
On Aug. 2, the City Council voted 6-1 to agree with city administration to condemn.
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