Investigators claim 490 violations at Motor Inn

An investigation conducted earlier this month shows that the Costa Mesa Motor Inn had 490 alleged health and safety violations involving nearly 90% of its rooms.

The more specific numbers released Wednesday also show that the Aug. 15 inspection at the 236-room Harbor Boulevard motel led to more than $40,000 worth of fines: $19,050 in direct fines for violations that must be remedied within 10 days, and $24,300 worth of fix-it tickets identifying problems that may be resolved within 30 days, according to Keith Clarke, Costa Mesa's community improvement director.

Still, he says, it could have been worse.

"We expected double the number of violations," Clarke said. "Had we not inspected this property earlier this year, there probably would've been closer to a thousand violations."

The Motor Inn, at 2277 Harbor Blvd., was subject to a considerably less extensive inspection in March. Then, officials visited 14 rooms and issued 68 citations — an average of 4.86 violations per room, said Jon Neal, a city code enforcement officer.

The August inspection averaged about 2.5 violations per room, Neal said. He said this month's inspection was significant for its expansive look throughout most rooms on the property, which took about six hours.

Twenty rooms of the 209 inspected had no violations, Clarke said.

Alleged violations included unkempt conditions, hoarding and insect infestation.

Historical citation data on the Motor Inn wasn't immediately available, though Neal said part of what drove up the motel's recent numbers was customer volume. A smaller motel, with fewer rooms, would potentially have fewer citations, he said.

The Motor Inn's on-site manager could not be reached for comment.

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