Owner drafts plan to comply with motel regulations

By Matthew Bernat | Sep 20, 2017

Faced with the possibility of fines and the loss of a license to operate, a business owner has made strides to comply with the town’s motel regulations.

New Bedford resident Tom Melanson bought the Village Motel at 2739 Cranberry Highway six months ago. In August, he appeared before the Board of Health to address several violations of the town’s motel regulations.

Those regulations took effect in 2015. That year, the board imposed a 21-day limit on how long a guest can remain in a motel or hotel room, a 90-day limit on stays in efficiency units and it required motel and hotel owners to provide certain amenities, such as maid service and fresh linens and towels.

At the August meeting, Health Inspector Patrick MacDonald said he found guests were staying longer than allowed and that required amenities, such as toiletries and housekeeping, weren’t provided.

Board members ordered Melanson to draft a plan that would bring the motel in compliance. On Wednesday, he presented that plan. It calls for converting eight of the 11 units into studio apartments. That would require extending the back of the rooms by 6 to 8 feet and adding kitchens, said Melanson. By enlarging the rooms, Village Motel would no longer be considered a motel, but an apartment building under the town bylaw.

Melanson said the remaining three units already meet the town’s definition of efficiency apartments. Also, housekeeping services are now being provided, he said.

Melanson noted he would submit the renovation plans to the building department soon for review and approval. He is scheduled to appear before the Board of Health in one month to update board members on his progress.

Comments (14)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Sep 20, 2017 22:28

Sounds like Melanson is making an effort to do it the right way.  Getting approval is one challenge.  If it gets approved his biggest challenge is going to be finding good tennants that won't trash all his hard work.  That's the problem with these places.  The best most considerate landlord in the world is only as good as the tennants.  These places don't have the best track record. A pig staying at the Ritz is still just a pig...

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Sep 21, 2017 00:56

Have you driven by the Village Motel?  It's one of the nicer units in town.  One has to wonder why the Board of Health is picking this one particular business to harass while making mealymouth excuses for not enforcing their recent arbitrary regulations on other flophouses.  Where I'm from, we call that malicious prosecution.  But I understand you inbred Yankees have different nudge, nudge, wink, wink standards.


Not all poor or just plain thrifty folks are, well, Warehamy.  Most are tidy, responsible, and polite.  Unfortunately, scumbags are also drawn to economical housing, tainting the entire low-end housing community.  Do the math--compare the salaries offered by businesses currently offering jobs to the rents charged by slumlords currently offering Onset dives.  A job at Mary Lou's will pay for a one-bedroom.  Supplement that with a second job at Wendy's and you can buy groceries.  Maybe even afford a car!


Of course, in the lower price range you can't be too picky about your neighbors.  Kind of a no-win situation.  But on the bright side,  it allows those of us who can afford three bedrooms and a car lease to look down on those folks who ring up our groceries and pour our coffee and actually own their cars.


Thank you, Board of Health, for tackling the important issue of selectively harassing undesirable small business owners!  If you're successful maybe the Village Motel will have to close, removing several affordable housing units from the marketplace and probably falling into disrepair!  So glad we have you geniuses looking out for us!

Posted by: Vrp0728 | Sep 21, 2017 10:19

I am the previous owner and that motel never had the problems of the other motels. The only reason I sold it was because the town made it impossible to get and keep good tenants and also made it impossible to get rid of bad ones. Had they left it the way it was I would still be there. My mom and I bought that motel so I could take care of her and still have a roof over our heads. She passed at home with her family. I resent the town of Wareham for bullying me out of business when everything was going good for the tenants and myself. I feel bad for Tom Melanson and all the extra things he must do. I'm sure he didn't think it would be this hard to run a motel.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Sep 21, 2017 10:19

Village is definitely one of the nicer motels in town. I wish Mr. Mealnson luck and wondered the same thing about why the nicest motel is getting singled out.  You nailed it about those that live in motels.  It's the 90/10 rule.  90% of the good apples get dragged down due to the 10% bad apples.  It is so hard to be a landlord and prevent bad apples, especially in Massachusetts.  They are protected in the beginning by limitations in how they can be screened.  Long-haired freaky people need not apply isn't PC anymore.  Then, once they move in, they are even more protected, especially if children are involved. I'd love to buy some rental property but I wouldn't be able to handle the tenant issues.

Posted by: Vrp0728 | Sep 21, 2017 11:24

You know to get one couple out between the rent they refused to pay and sheriff court it was $5300. No one can take a hit and survive very long.

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Sep 21, 2017 15:21

VRP0728 - the problem you fail to address is "if they left things alone, I'd still have my tenants", etc etc. You shouldn't have tenants in a motel. It's a MOTEL. Short-stays only. If you want a building that houses people for longer periods of time, that's what apartment buildings are for and they have a whole set of regulations that go along with it. The truth is, there are many 'old timer' Motel owners in Wareham that do not want to run a motel/hotel. They want to run an apartment operation with Motel conditions. That's wrong. You are taking advantage of the lowest economic class of citizens by letting them illegally stay in a unit that was never designed for home living, and then you are taking advantage of taxpayers that should be getting the motel tax from you, as a quality establishment that people want to stay at, as tourists. Wareham does not need anymore owners of motels that don't know the business they are supposed to be in.

Posted by: bob | Sep 22, 2017 07:01

DOC DEEKAS,great comment......

Posted by: Vrp0728 | Sep 22, 2017 10:22

Well doc if there was more affordable housing and you didn't need $3000 to just get an apartment I would agree with you. The people that lived there were hard working good people. My rents were the lowest in town and I didn't raise the rents in the summer. I still paid the taxes. Have YOU been homeless? I have and it's not a joke. Then you have background checks cori checks credit checks, maybe you can pass all those but most of us can't and that doesn't make anyone of us bad people just people who fell on hard times at one point of our lives. Bottom line is the only people bitching are the ones who don't have to live in a motel. The village was a clean, safe,quiet place to live, the police never came there, we were good neighbors and didn't bother anyone. Hopefully you never end up wondering where you're going to sleep because even if u find a good motel to stay you'll have to move 21 days later.

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Sep 22, 2017 12:53

VRP - do you re-read what you are saying? You are suggesting that it is OK to illegally make a Motel into an apartment because some people won't pass CORI checks or have bad credit. I would disagree with you that someone that fell on bad times should somehow get into the CORI system...I think we know what a legitimate CORI issue would be. Motels in Wareham are motels - they are not to be used as homeless shelters or apartment complexes. If that's what you want to run, then you have a separate set of regulations to follow. You cannot just buck the regulations and do what you want. Those units do not have kitchens, they don't have private bedrooms, and they don't have the square footage to be apartments. They were never designed for that use, and that's why making it that way doesn't change the legality or safety of it. You are putting people in potential danger in case of a fire. On the tax end of it, there's a motel tax that stops collecting after someone stays in a motel for 30 days. So no, THOSE taxes were being sidestepped from the Wareham tax rolls after 30 days. Anyhow, kudos to our community to making motels back to the motels they were intended to be, and, to what motels are in every community not named Wareham.

Posted by: Vrp0728 | Sep 23, 2017 09:48

  • The fire department wrote me a letter saying because it was one level that there was no safety issues. People could get out safely. And I was just stating what landlords sometimes ask for when renting an apartment but if u want to use the cori statement to prove your point so be it. If you can sleep comfortably at night knowing that in 21 days there will be people with no where to go out looking  for a place to lay their heads that's fine. Make sure you go behind stop &shop and let them know that you were doing it because you care about their wellbeing, that you actually saved them from the horrible warm safe clean motel they were living in because God forbid  a motel should be used for anything but vacations. Just saying!!!

Posted by: Vrp0728 | Sep 23, 2017 10:59

How about this Doctor Deekas I will pick someone that will pass a cori and you open your home, rent them a room for $240 per week with no first, last or security deposit. You be the first one to show some compassion instead of thinking you and all the others have the best solutions but don't know shit about having no where to go. Or better yet I'll send someone to your door in the middle of a winter night when they don't have enough $ till they get their check and take them in give them a room for free till they get their money. People living in motels are not hurting anyone, they work are willing to pay rent. So all of you with big ideas on how to make Wareham better, concentrate on the actual homeless, children that aren't eating, mother's od'ing with the kids in the car, the elderly who have no one to visit or even care. When I think about it when I first came here everyone was living in a motel long term, when I first started working at the village and then when my mom and I bought it everyone there was long term. You really think people are coming to Wareham on vacation. If they were u would have to charge $1000 per week every week in the summer just to keep going then close perfectly good rooms for the winter. Get your heads out of your ass and think about all, not just about what u think is the right way.

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Sep 23, 2017 13:05

Vrp, most of these people no where to go because they chose to live that way . Funny you mentioned behind Stop and Shop 90 % of those people are drug users . If you got money for drugs you can afford a place to live . At one of those Welly motels someone has a bost parked outside their room. Got money for a boat but not a place to live ?

Posted by: Vrp0728 | Sep 23, 2017 18:12

No the people that lived at the village motel all but 2 worked. The 2 that didn't were disabled. Before the town changed the rules if I thought or saw drug activities I would call the police and they would escort them off the property and issue a no trespassing. I would do the same for people who got a week behind in rent. I don't know of one person that lived there that wanted to be homeless but they also couldn't afford 1st last and security. It seemed that the town because we never had problems wanted to make problems that's how I feel the put me out of business. We are never going to agree but when u have people coming to the door saying they are in so and so motel and needed to get out because of all the shit that was going one where they were I had a waiting list.

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Sep 25, 2017 11:01

VRP - hope retirement from illegally running a motel as a homeless shelter is treating you well. I also hope more owners that think that is OK to do with their hotels also consider selling and retiring. If someone that is homeless comes knocking at my door, I will certainly send them to one of the churches that is involved with the Nights of Hospitality, and I'm sure they'll get better direction about the next step, than laying on my doorstep. Perhaps your calling is to run a homeless shelter, there's nothing wrong with that, but don't do it with a motel. If no one wants to come to Wareham on vacation, I think you are mistaken. Thousands of homes are rented in Wareham and Onset every year and every summer, whether through AirBnb or real estate listings, or word of mouth. You know why that is? Because there isn't a clean, forsaken motel to stay in, in the Onset area. The only great hotel in town is the new one by Rosebrook. If they didn't believe there was a population that came to our town, how would their business model support that building? Just because you kept a low-quality operation does not mean that only homeless could have filled it. It's just because you don't belong in the motel business in the first place, that's the issue. If owners would clean up their properties in our area, and stop living in some blighted 1960's/70's era, we could have nice-looking motels that people would vacation at.

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