Baltimore Co. closes problem motel on U.S. 40


After allowing the issue to languish for more than a year in the bureaucracy, Baltimore County officials have shut down a tiny, 64-year old Pulaski Highway motel that police said was part of Rosedale's prostitution problem.

August C. Weber, 79, the combative owner of the white-stucco Davis Motel in the 8300 block, was there Thursday, cleaning up and ordering tenants out, as he vowed to appeal the action.

"This is strictly political," he charged. "I put a guy out today who's been with me here 20 years!"

He conceded the motel he has run since 1961 "ain't no silk purse," but he said U.S. 40's prostitutes have brought him nothing but trouble.

"We don't want prostitutes," he said. "They bring the law."

A woman who said her name was Shirley complained about being displaced from her tiny, $10-a-night room. "I'm homeless," she said, adding that her boyfriend paid her rent at the motel for the past two months. She refused to give her last name.

Mr. Weber said he had several other long-term tenants, including a Pennsylvania resident who works for General Motors Corp. in Dundalk and sleeps at the 19-room motel during the week. His $45-a-week room was larger, equipped with a color television and air conditioning, and looked neatly kept.

But the motel disturbs the nearby residential neighborhood, according to Rosedale Community Association President Daryl Buhrman, a retired city police officer.

Neighborhood leaders have been complaining for the past seven years about prostitutes from Baltimore who now work along U.S. 40 between the city line and the Baltimore Beltway.

A number of police stakeouts and undercover operations have reduced the problem lately, White Marsh precinct commander Maj. Jeffrey M. Caslin said, adding that it always can flare-up again.

County inspectors visited the motel seven times in 1994. The county refused to issue a motel license to Mr. Weber after inspectors found rooms strewn with used condoms, as well as inoperable smoke detectors, toilets and showers.

The county Board of Appeals ruled last week that denying the 1994 license was justified, but decided the case was moot because the 1994 licensing year had expired in April. Mr. Weber has a 1995 license permit pending, and it seemed that the cycle of applications, inspections and appeals could go on for years.

But new county Department of Permits and Development Management Director Arnold Jablon stepped in Wednesday and ordered an immediate re-inspection, which revealed that several defects still had not been fixed.

Inspector James Shea said one toilet still was not secured to the floor, smoke detectors weren't working and toilet vent gas pipes were detached from the buildings.

Mr. Jablon then ordered the motel closed until all repairs are made.

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