Hotel ordinance backed in Ashwaubenon
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – A hotel registration and security ordinance to create and maintain a guest list with contact information was unanimously recommended Tuesday, March 5, by the village Public Works and Protection Committee.
Village Attorney Tony Wachewicz said the proposed ordinance is geared toward gathering information about guests staying at hotels, motels or any transient lodging establishments in the village for law enforcement purposes to contact the general manager or person in charge of the premises.
“What this requires is the lodging premises to maintain this basic contact information that is available to law enforcement,” Wachewicz said. “This is an ordinance that’s based upon an ordinance that Oak Creek has.”
Wachewicz said a draft of the ordinance was provided to the lodging association for its input to make revisions.
The proposed ordinance would direct lodging establishments to require identification of their guests, such as with a driver’s license, government-issued photo identification card, credit card or “such other form as will reasonably assure that the registrant is, in fact, the person under whose name such lodging, room or accommodations is, in fact, being procured.”
The guest register would be available for review and inspection by the Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department or other law enforcement agencies.
Under the proposed ordinance, the names and permanent addresses of those obtaining lodging, along with the time and room occupied, would be recorded in the register.
Wachewicz said the ordinance would provide lodging establishments with clearer legal direction regarding their obligation to obtain and provide information upon the request of law enforcement, which could be investigating illegal activities such as human trafficking or drug activity.
Public Safety Chief Eric Dunning said the proposed ordinance would help law enforcement because there have been guests who pay cash and do not show any identification.
“It’s for the protection of the hotel manager and the patrons in there, not just on our end,” Dunning said. “And when we show up there, we’re not doing a records check. We’re showing up there because we got called in for some reason – suspicious smell in a room, a disturbance going on. We’d like to make contact with the person who is in there.”
The proposed ordinance is being forwarded to the village board for final approval at its March 26 meeting.