Resident expresses disappointment with Board of Health

Nov 15, 2015

To the editor,


The Board of Health stated they did not want to start the new year by ejecting people out of these motels in the pit of winter. It then seems that the Board would not be bothered by kicking out these unfortunate people in the light and temperate times of summer. The logic of their point of view escapes me. Do not these people who constitute this committee realize that winter will come again?

I also wonder how these people intend to enforce this arbitrary 21-day limit on the length of stay in these motels. Conceivably, the tenants would leave for one day and then come back the next day and renew their 21-day stay. Or would the Board impose restrictions on how long these people would have to stay away from these motels?

Assuming that there are several motels that have arrangements with the state to house these poor people, how would the Board keep these people from going down the street to another motel the next day? Is Mr. Ethier going to keep tabs of the comings and goings of these otherwise homeless souls? I think not. Perhaps the Board would simply make this the responsibility of the motel operators. In this case, I would suppose the Board would review the reports of the motel operators on a daily basis so that nobody could stay for more than than their 21-day limit and also make sure that these lodgers may not somehow attempt to cheat the system and stay at the place down the road the next day. Assuming a family was caught overstaying the allotted time, would the Board have the authority to impose fines on these establishments? The point I am attempting to make here is that this would be a clerical nightmare and for the cruel aim of keeping people OUT of shelter. Are the Board members of a mind that people and families would be better off living in the streets? Does this proposal promote the health of its citizens? Yes, even people who live in these motels are citizens of this town and as such should be accorded some modicum of consideration and respect if not compassion.

Selectman Whiteside stated she was appalled that people lived in a place without a kitchen and I would agree that this is a sad state of affairs for a family. But does Ms. Whiteside think that living in an accommodation without a kitchen is worse than no accommodation at all? According to Ms. Whiteside passage of this regulation would give notice to these motel operators to "fish or cut bait" with regard to improving the conditions of these lodgings. Ms. Whiteside's attitude strikes me as both thoughtless and imperious. Is Selectman Whiteside knowledgeable of the financial operations of these motels? If the operators decide to "cut bait" as she states, meaning to go out of business, where will these people live? According to Mr. Ethier, these people would simply go to Brockton or Hyannis, where accommodations for the homeless are presumably ample. I can guarantee Mr. Ethier this is not the case in those communities either. Short of that maybe the Board would be satisfied with displacing these people and families to where the homeless live in this town, namely behind the Home Depot or behind the site of the old Wal-Mart. So much for compassion.

Here's an idea for the Board to consider. Maybe the members could offer to work with the motel operators to improve conditions of their rooms in the spirit of help from the community and cooperation as opposed to coercion. I would be happy to volunteer in this effort.


Geoff Kirpa
Onset resident

Comments (11)
Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Nov 16, 2015 10:47

How many motels have kitchens?  Why would anyone expect a motel room to contain kitchen facilities?  I think the issue is whether these businesses are true motels or state-sponsored flophouses.


I believe it was on MassLive that I read "The average hotel stay for a homeless family is seven months, at an average cost of $2,500 per month." Why would I, as "a member of the community" offer to work on behalf of those who appear to be capable of solving their own problems if they could just refocus from cashing all those fat government rent checks?

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Nov 16, 2015 19:48

Mr Kirpa, How many homeless do you host at your home or pay rent for? How much more do you donate to the schools to educate and transport the children that are here because of these motels?  I thought so!

Posted by: justin beiber | Nov 16, 2015 21:15


This is a complicated issue.

Nonetheless, certain BOS members support spending our tax dollars on pipe dreams.

Don't vote for Tropeano and Teitlebaum in the next election.

Posted by: Theresa ONeill | Nov 17, 2015 06:27

Motels, hotels, and inns fall under a separate category of law with regards to housing people which allows them to remove people immediately from their premises for not paying a bill or other reasons. A landlord renting an apartment must go through the court system before he or she can do same. Apartments / homes also must meet base standards in order to be habitable - meet a certain number of square feet per person, have a kitchen with hot cold water and stove and a bathroom. Hotels, motels, inns do not. There is also fire codes - two exits for a residence - not so for a motel/hotel/inn. So if the inns hotels and motels are in truth acting as long term residences they should also be providing the same base services as landlords, be taxed accordingly, meet the same health codes (state minimum 100 sq feet per person not including storage) provide a real kitchen with separate bedrooms. Instead whole families are living in one hotel room, no kitchen but paying 5 or 6x per square foot if they were in an apartment. Not a smart use if resources and it should not be legal. State needs to build real affordable units instead of temporary bandaid that puts homeless families in in appropriate housing. I agree that the town should not allow the practice - or treat the motels/inn owners as what they really are - slum lords renting substandard illegal apartments and shut them down.

Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Nov 17, 2015 08:10

Doc, although I would be especially pleased if people did vote for me in the next election, it wouldn't really alter the fact that my current term expires in 2017, not next year.

Posted by: justin beiber | Nov 17, 2015 19:53


Your proposal to limit the length of time a family can stay at a flea bag motel in town will never work.

If my opinion is incorrect, feel free to chime in.

Posted by: barnstorm | Nov 18, 2015 07:16

Peter, I agree with Beiber. 2017 can't come soon enough for me. Maybe you should just step down and do us all a big favor. Steve Holmes is another BOS member that has to go as well!

Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Nov 18, 2015 11:22

Well Paul, I hate to disappoint you but it's going to take a lot more than two whiny "anonymous" bloggers to get me to quit.  And nothing is stopping you from tossing your own hat in the ring if you think you've got better ideas.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Nov 18, 2015 16:40

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Posted by: sadie | Nov 18, 2015 16:50

this is how Yarmouth deals with the motels

West Yarmouth Lodging on Route 28 is one of three motels owned by Harry Miller that the town says is violating zoning rules by renting to permanent tenants. The town suspended the motels’ licenses yesterday, and Miller said he will appeal in court.

Posted by: OnsetForLife | Nov 29, 2015 17:28

I agree, we need new blood to run this town, then again, i said this before the last election, but everyone voted the same people in.

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