BRANSON, Mo.-- Some changes for Branson motels are causing new challenges for owners and residents. They deal with motels that are extended stay, where people live year round. Now the city has new regulations that will impact these businesses.
Branson has more than 200 lodging properties, some that rent by the night, but others that rent by the month. "I bought the Palms in August of last year, and it's been run as an extended stay since then," says Chuck Bayer.
Chuck, along with the owners of many of the other extended stay facilities in town, about 20 in all, are upset with the city's latest moves. They've been classified as apartments in the past, but the city now says they're hotels.
"Now they're saying you have to get a business license, you have to pay the last two years of business personal property taxes, as well as this year's, when the city didn't even ask them to pay business personal property taxes the last two years," says Attorney Bob Paulson, who is representing Motel 9, another of Branson's extended stay properties.
A new inspection process for all of Branson's hotels is just starting- the Lodging Risk Reduction Program. Fire, health and code inspectors work as a team to inspect each property, including extended stays.
"Those right now are not inspected by the health department, so that's kind of a gap we need to fill and make sure those properties are safe as well," says Garrett Anderson, spokesperson for the City of Branson.
"They're not a hotel; they're an apartment," says Paulson.
Anderson says, "According to the state building codes, they are not apartments."
At Motel 9, many of the residents are employees in the Branson tourist industry, and they don't make enough to afford a car, much less the down payment on an apartment. "So they need these facilities in order to live, in order to survive, support themselves and support their families," says Paulson.
The city wants to ensure safety, and business owners say they do too, but the extra taxes and inspections could be too costly. "They want to inspect, and I think they want to inspect them out of business," Paulson says.