By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Warsaw’s Economy Inn may soon be no more.
At a Warsaw Code Enforcement meeting on Tuesday, June 22, Hearing Officer Thomas Earhart ordered that the hotel, located at 3521 Lake City Highway, be demolished.
The building was damaged in a windstorm in May 2019. Owner Jay Patel did repair the roof following the storm, but didn’t make other needed repairs.
This isn’t the first time the building’s been under a demolition order. In 2017, the building was set to be demolished due to violations.
However, Patel, who operates the hotel through the entity Hari Om, started making improvements afterward.
Patel wasn’t present at Tuesday’s meeting at Warsaw City Hall. Nor was anyone there to speak on his behalf, a fact which surprised Earhart.
“We don’t have any contractors or engineers or anybody?” said Earhart at the meeting.
Discussion then centered on how Patel has not communicated well with the city.
“We never got an application (for a building permit), but we did get the plans sent to us,” said Warsaw Building Commissioner Ray Behling.
“But June 2, the fire marshal (Joe Fretz) and I did a plan check on the plans that he did submit and the plans were such that we couldn’t read them, they were so small, so tiny,” Behling continued.
He said he contacted an engineer for the project on June 3 and he told Behling he was to send him new plans. However, he never did, said Behling.
“We’re still not clear on the funding … He did send a timeline, but we’re not real clear on that timeline either,” he said.
In response to a question from Earhart, Behling said Patel had submitted plans to the state, but no comments had been made on them the last time Behling checked online.
Behling said that it was strange the state hadn’t responded to the plans after about two months. He contacted the state, but hasn’t received a response.
Behling said he checked on the hotel a week ago and it was secure then. It hasn’t been at other times though, he said.
“In the condition that it’s in, would you consider it a fire hazard or any hazard to public health or safety?” asked Earhart.
“Yeah, I would say that it would be both of those because anybody can kind of wander onto the property and there’s … outside stairways that are accessible and that’s where I know people were pulling plywood down and going into the rooms and prying doors open and anytime that situation occurs that there’s people in there, it’s always a fire hazard,” answered Behling.
Patel has 10 days from Tuesday to appeal Earhart’s order.