The city of Miami and Coral Gables are teaming up to crack down on hourly rental hotels. This, the Coral Gables City Commision, hopes will change the reputation of Calle Ocho that runs from LeJeune Road to the Palmetto Expressway, and they hope that it will also stop prostitution and drug dealing in the neighborhoods as well.
Commissioner Vince Lago commented that “I look forward to hopefully implementing this and cleaning up an area that for such a long time has been a blight not only for the city of Miami but for the city of Coral Gables. For some reason there’s been a blind eye turned to it for a long time.”
Coral Gables needs cooperation from the city of Miami if this is to be done because only one of the motels is within the Coral Gables city limits. The rest are in Miami. The hotels include Jamaica Motel, Wishes Hotel, Stardust Motel, Tamiami Motel and Miami Executive Hotel.
A resident sent an email to Commissioner Lago, as reported by the Miami Herald, and the resident explained that “Prostitutes walk around at all hours, and men slowly cruise up and down near the hotels. I often pick different routes to drive home when bringing guests over to avoid this area.”
In December, the Gables approved an ordinance that fines business owners who accept hourly rentals. A fine up to $5,000 would be issued after a warning and if there are two violations within the same year. The fines could also run up to $15,000 if the establishment is found to be facilitating sex trafficking or prostitution.