FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The clock is ticking in Fayetteville for local motel owners. City leaders are giving them three years to comply with a city ordinance or be shut down.
Motels that operate as "long-term" living spaces or extended stays must now install stoves in every room they rent.
Local business owners believe there's a hidden agenda- the city is trying to force them out. However, city leaders said the measure is truly about safety.
Monday night, the majority of city leaders voted to continue an ordinance that would give motels three years to install stoves in each room. Without typical extended stay amenities, residents were forced to bring in other cooking appliances that posed safety hazards.
On the surface, the fix sounds pretty easy; however, for the Tropical Motel built decades ago, it would require them to rewire the entire complex, which would cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The motel, in turn, fears that could cost residents the roof over their heads. "They're all poor people," said owner Frank Edge.
Edge told ABC11 that he might have to raise rates to make upgrades.
"I'm just going to do the best that I can and that's all I can do," said Edge.
The ordinance isn't necessarily new. Leaders approved the amortization that gave owners until March 22, 2022, to comply.
Councilman Bill Crisp said he voted against the ordinance for the sake of retaining Fayetteville's most vulnerable population, but he is concerned that it won't be enough to protect them.
"They (motels) haven't come into compliance in the past three years. What makes you think they're going to come into compliance in the next three years? So my estimation, the ordinance is without shark's teeth. Where is the enforcement" said Crisp.
The city has sent warning letters to the motels.
This isn't the first time city leaders have cracked down on motels.
In late December they shut the power off at the Boulevard Motel after they said the owner failed to bring the motel up to electrical code. The building burned down in January.
Clock ticking for Fayetteville motel owners to comply with ordinance