Branson issues closure notices to several hotels and motels

Several Branson hotels and motels could be closed down, as the city and health department enforce a new lodging ordinance.

The deadline for Branson lodging facilities to have all inspections complete and obtain a new business license was November 1. However, many still haven't complied and some have already received a notice to shut down.

At Family Inn, workers are doing repairs, so the city doesn't shut them down.

"We are doing everything we can," Ozarks Property Management Owner Mark Braun said.

Mark Braun has managed the property for about ten years and says several tenants have lived in the apartment-style units for years.

"The longest [tenant] is in 202. He's been here seven years," Braun said.

The property is one of several area lodging facilities issued a closure notice by the city, which is citing health and safety concerns. However, Braun calls them minor maintenance issues.

"In years passed, they've never even mentioned anything about some of the things they're now finding on the property, like a conduit that's separated by a fingernail. And it's like 'Ok, yeah, it needs to be fixed, but isn't that just a little petty?" Braun said.

According to the new ordinance, the lodging license process is stricter.

"Making sure that all of the departments have checked off all their inspections, sometimes that may be as something as simple as paying a fee," Taney County Health Department Assistant Director Lisa Marshall said.

While every case is different, there are dozens of lodging facilities currently not making the cut. A list of those is public on the city's website.

"We are all working through it together, all of the departments, we are also trying to work with facilities to get them into compliance," Marshall said.

Marshall says as they work through the list, more closure notices could be issued. However, the goal is only to permanently close those unwilling to provide a safe space.

"We try to communicate with the facility owners making sure they know what they need to do," Marshall said.

Still, Braun says he doesn't feel supported.

"We do as much as we can to make sure the property is safe and healthy for the tenants," Braun said.

He says he's hopeful that he can meet all the requirements before families here have to find somewhere else to go.

"We are working on it and we will get it done, I just hope the city will work with us," Braun said.

Marshall says if future closures displace people, the department and the city has a team in place, including the Salvation Army, to ensure that people have somewhere to go.