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June 7, 2018

Town: Owner must repair or demolish old motel

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
About 30 people live at the motel, where town officials found extensive water damage, structural problems, fire safety violations, electrical hazards, broken plumbing fixtures and unsanitary conditions, according to a May 30 report.
The structure is unsafe, and we don’t want people in an unsafe environment.
— Town Community Development Director Brandie Schaeffer
Cheswick Motel
• What: One-story motel.

• Where: 4 acres at 394 Broadview Ave., Warrenton.

• Built: 1960.

• Square feet: 15,958.

• Rooms: 32

• Owner: Goal L.C., Giancarlo Oderda of Palm City, Fla.

• Rooms used for long-term residents: 13

• Rooms used as storage: 19

• Assessed value: $3.4 million for real estate tax purposes.

• Listed for sale: At $2.9 million with RE/MAX Regency
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Warrenton officials have ordered the owner of a dilapidated motel to make extensive repairs or demolish the 58-year-old structure.

A May 17 inspection of the Cheswick Motel at 394 Broadview Ave. revealed extensive water damage and wood rot, ventilation issues, mold and mildew, electrical hazards, a leaking water heater, numerous other building violations and “unsanitary” conditions, according to the town.

About 20 people live at the Cheswick, deemed “unfit for human occupancy.”

“It has to be an extreme situation for the town to do this,” Warrenton Community Development Director Brandie Schaeffer said Thursday. “The safety of the people living there is compromised.”

Ms. Schaeffer on May 30 sent a letter detailing violations by certified mail to owner Giancarlo Oderda in Palm City, Fla. Mr. Oderda owns the property under Goal LC, according to town real estate records.

> Letter at bottom of story

As of Thursday, town officials had not received a receipt verifying that Mr. Oderda had the letter. Reportedly traveling abroad, he did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The notice gives the Cheswick 14 days to vacate rooms used for long-term living, to close the office and to stop using a badly damaged water heater. The owner also has two weeks to submit a detailed plan for repairs.

Town officials recently inspected all six hotels and motels in Warrenton but found only minor violations at the others, Ms. Schaeffer said.

“Our enforcement historically has been based on complaints, and after receiving several complaints about long-term residents and the condition of the structures and overall safety, we began inspections on all hotels in the town,” she explained.

The last fire inspection at the Cheswick took place in 2010, town staffers said.

Fire Marshal Rick Grigsby, Building Official Frank Cassidy, police Lt. Tim Carter and Warrenton Volunteer Fire/Rescue Lt. William Hayes accompanied Ms. Schaeffer during the two-hour Cheswick inspection on Thursday, May 17.

“We found this one to have exponentially worse living conditions” than other Warrenton motels, Ms. Schaeffer said.

The inspection found 13 rooms housing tenants for more than 30 days, violating the town zoning ordinance.

The officials found 19 vacant rooms used for storage and lacking fire alarms, proper ventilation or clear pathways to meet fire safety requirements, among other issues.

The town identified the Cheswick as being “a dangerous, unsafe and unsanitary structure,” according to the letter.

“The structure is unsafe, and we don’t want people in an unsafe environment,” Ms Schaeffer said.

If Mr. Oderda decides not to make the repairs, he would have 60 days to start demolition of the building, according to the town officials.

“If you refuse to take appropriate action to address the violations, the town will take corrective action on the property and all charges and fees will be applied to the property owner,” the letter states. “If you choose to appeal this notice, you must do so within 14 days of receipt of this notice as outlined in the Virginia Property Maintenance Code.”

“We are willing to work with them,” Ms. Schaeffer said. “As long as they progress toward compliance, we will be willing to work with them.”

The town planning director said she knows of no other situation in which Warrenton officials had ordered such extensive repairs or demolition of a building.

A Cheswick employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity Thursday, said about 20 people live in the motel, where a room rents for $49 a day or $250 a week.

Before sending the letter to the owner, town staff members met with representatives of local nonprofits that house the homeless to come up with options for those living at the motel.

RE/MAX Regency real estate agent Kara Joseph, who has the property listed and represents the owner, estimated the property has been for sale for almost a decade.

“This is way too new and a lot of decisions need to be made,” said Ms. Joseph, who had learned of the town’s letter to her client. “We’re consulting with an attorney.

“This affects people who have no place to go. I know good people who are working in this town and are living in these motels and they have no options . . . . They are part of the community. We have a town that doesn’t want to have low-income housing and it’s an issue.

“There needs to be some real conversation and real results,” Ms. Joseph said. “These motels solve some of that for people who have no place to go.”

Listed for sale at $2.9 million, the hotel and its four acres have an assessed value of $3.4 million for real estate tax purposes.

Last year, German grocery giant Lidl, withdrew its application to replace the Cheswick Motel, built in 1960, with a 36,000-square-foot store on the property.

Cheswick Notice 5-30-18 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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Chris Cloud · June 18, 2018 at 9:32 pm
correction: 45 Winchester St.......
Chris Cloud · June 18, 2018 at 9:11 pm
GEE.... wonder if they'll finally focus on 92 Winchester St. now......
sgtiesll · June 11, 2018 at 12:17 pm
@AngryBob - yes 1000 a month can land you a decent rental in some areas but that usually doesn't include utilities, etc.. Most of the people don't have credit or good enough credit to rent a real home or apt. Also many of them don't have transportation so living in town gives them access to places by foot or cab. It's always easy to assume they are vagrants and losers but many of those people are good hard workers doing what they can to get by. Just because someone doesn't appear to have a lot in life doesn't mean they are bad and drug users. Why don't you attend some town hall meetings and offer solutions instead of making assumptions.
Sunset · June 8, 2018 at 5:18 pm
Why was last fire inspection on Cheswick in 2010...8 years ago? Who do we contact about other shabby businesses in Warrenton and Fauquier County? Example - the Rug place on 29 east of Warrenton. Looks like hell and always going out of business....who do we contact and what are the zoning laws about these dumps?
Angry8 · June 8, 2018 at 12:29 pm
THey need to get after the owners of fauquier motel also. Trash hole and eye sores
AngryBob · June 8, 2018 at 9:03 am
$1000/month to live in a run down motel room? You can rent a reasonably nice 1br apartment in Warrenton for $980/month. So this can't be an issue of "Low Income Housing". There must be some other reason people are living there. I'll bet there's an on-site pharmacy, if you know what I mean.
Rover 530 · June 7, 2018 at 8:03 pm
Wasn't Giancarlo Oderda a part-owner of the closed "Fantastico" restaurant which now has "El Agave" in the old location?
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