The City of Upland has garnered a big win for its community as a once severely dilapidated nuisance property well-known for repeated criminal activity, Western Inn, was recently sold to a new responsible party who made much-needed improvements to the property.
Upland’s Municipal Code was violated hundreds of times due to dilapidated conditions, significant structural damage, fire hazards, overgrown and dead vegetation, people living in vehicles on the property, and more.
Between September 2018 and September 2019, the Upland Police Department (UPD) recorded 371 calls for service from the nuisance property, and between October 2019 and October 2020, there were 273 calls. In just two years, UPD received a whopping 644 calls for assistance from the Western Inn, far more than for any other location, and which significantly drained the city’s emergency services.
Many of the 911 calls from the nuisance property reported rapes, parole violations, prostitution, violent crime, drugs, warrants, weapons, and stolen vehicles.
Since June 2018, the City began receiving an influx of complaints from community members, neighboring residents, and the Upland Unified School District, as the once nuisance property is just 50 yards away from Foothill Knolls STEM Academy of Innovation.
The property’s first inspection was recorded on September 8, 2018, for overgrown vegetation, a great deal of trash on site, broken shutters, and a lack of property maintenance. The city’s code enforcement officer performed a follow-up inspection on September 27, 2018, and noted that some but not all of the complaints had been remediated.
In November of that same year, the code enforcement officer returned to inspect the property regarding the (still) outstanding violations and found an inoperable trailer near the driveway.
Then, between May 2019 and November 2020, complaints were made regarding people living in vehicles, inoperable vehicles on the property, broken concrete stairs, more overgrown vegetation, and unsuitable living conditions – all of which went unaddressed by the property owner.
Thereafter, the code enforcement officer issued the Western Inn numerous Notice of Violations and an administrative citation, which has since been paid, but no remediation was ever performed; except for occasional perfunctory vegetation maintenance.
The City of Upland contacted Silver & Wright LLP, and the firm helped the City obtain a court-approved Inspection Warrant to assess the full nature of the interior conditions and violations.
“In July 2021, Silver & Wright LLP convinced the Superior Court to issue the requested inspection warrant, which allowed the City to inspect the entire property, inside and out. As bad as we thought it might be inside, it turned out much worse than anticipated. A few units at the back of the property housed families with kids that had been there for over two years.”
COUNSEL DANIEL OHL
The Judge who issued the inspection warrant was appalled at the conditions discovered.
The carpets were filthy, so dirty they looked like they had never been cleaned, and other rooms were used to “reassemble” stolen bikes, with grease everywhere.
During the inspection(s), it was discovered that the 114-unit motel would rent out rooms by the hour, where individuals would purchase drugs at a nearby park before heading inside one of the rented units to shower and partake in drug-related activity.
Many units were infested with cockroaches, fleas, mites, and even rodents. In some units, pieces of the ceiling were missing, the carpets were filthy, bathtubs were covered in extreme grime and mildew, trash was scattered throughout, and many units had holes in the walls.
Most of the nuisance property’s units had either non-functioning or no smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.
Once the inspections concluded, Silver & Wright LLP worked with the City to help encourage the sale of the property, which was recently sold to a new owner. Before the new owner had the assumed title, he applied for and received permits for the much-needed work and began remediating and bringing the property into compliance with UMC and State laws.
Today, the property’s visual appearance has dramatically improved, the operations do not tax emergency services, and Foothill Knolls Elementary School can have peace of mind without the criminal conduct once common at the property, nuisances, and hazards the Western Inn brought to the community. It is now a great new addition to the neighborhood and City.