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Planning commissioners in Orange voted to revoke the permit of a small motel that operates as a temporary home for pregnant Chinese women.


The two-story 28-room JR Motel which has no sign and doesnt apper to take reservations from the general public has violated numerous building, planning and fire codes, and has been operating more as a lodging home or boarding house in a zone that permits neither, city officials said.


What is very clear, its not a motel, said Commissioner David Vazquez.


Instead, the JR Motel is believed to be a venue for birth tourism, a controversial but legal practice that has become common in Southern California.


The fate of the motel at 428 E. Lincoln Avenue is now in the hands of the City Council, which will consider at an as-yet unscheduled meeting the planning commissions recommendation to revoke the permit at an as-yet unscheduled meeting.


The JR features a nursery room, strollers and three meals a day for its occupants, as well as transportation to and from doctor appointments all earmarks of a business in which pregnant foreign nationals pay operators to travel to the U.S., give birth, and return home with babies who are American citizens.


While the industry is legal, some birth tourism operators have been prosecuted by federal officials for encouraging their clients to lie to customs officials when entering the country, which is a crime. And the business has prompted demands from some, including President Donald Trump, for an end to birthright citizenship.


Tony Lu, the attorney representing the motels owner, said after the Planning Commission meeting that hes hopeful he can still work with city officials to iron out a solution. While some of the motels guests are from China, others are Orange County women practicing the traditional 30-day Chinese confinement after giving birth, Lu said. (During that 30-day period, the new moms follow strict dietary rules and do not go out while they are taken care of either at home or in a post-partum center.)


We also have locals and their family members staying, Lu said.


The stigma of birth tourism and the bad history on this (project) has overshadowed our efforts to make this proper and right, Lu added.


Planning commissioners said they are not revoking the permit because the facility is used as a birth tourism venue.  They voted to shut down the motel, they said, because the owner did not accurately describe the facility when he sought the permit in 2015 and, later, after final review and approval, he made unpermitted alterations such as subdividing rooms and adding bedrooms.



You knew what you were doing, Commissioner Ernest Glasgow told JR Motel owner Chi Huang, who has an inactive contractor license affiliated with JR Investment Limited.


Most of the violations have since been corrected, both sides said.


Meanwhile, the JR Motel was the only lodge in the city that did not pay a transient occupancy tax.  The JR began paying hotel taxes last October, city officials said.


Motel attorney Lu said his client would agree to most conditions city officials recently wanted to impose for the facility to stay open, including periodic inspections and requiring 90 % of the motel to be transient, which mean guests would stay for no more than 30 consecutive days.


We just have to do it differently. Were willing to work with the city, Lu said.


But city officials said they had been fooled once and were not confident of any assurances given now.


There were no violations when it was approved. And then, there were, said Mary Binning, senior assistant city attorney.


Commissioner Doug Willits told the owner that he has shown a blatant disrespect for conditions agreed to in the permit, and that the motel has created a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars.


Source: https://www.ocregister.com


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US Moves to Shut Down Motel that Serves as Birth Tourism Venue

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Planning commissioners in Orange voted to revoke the permit of a small motel that operates as a temporary home for pregnant Chinese women.


The two-story 28-room JR Motel which has no sign and doesnt apper to take reservations from the general public has violated numerous building, planning and fire codes, and has been operating more as a lodging home or boarding house in a zone that permits neither, city officials said.


What is very clear, its not a motel, said Commissioner David Vazquez.


Instead, the JR Motel is believed to be a venue for birth tourism, a controversial but legal practice that has become common in Southern California.


The fate of the motel at 428 E. Lincoln Avenue is now in the hands of the City Council, which will consider at an as-yet unscheduled meeting the planning commissions recommendation to revoke the permit at an as-yet unscheduled meeting.


The JR features a nursery room, strollers and three meals a day for its occupants, as well as transportation to and from doctor appointments all earmarks of a business in which pregnant foreign nationals pay operators to travel to the U.S., give birth, and return home with babies who are American citizens.


While the industry is legal, some birth tourism operators have been prosecuted by federal officials for encouraging their clients to lie to customs officials when entering the country, which is a crime. And the business has prompted demands from some, including President Donald Trump, for an end to birthright citizenship.


Tony Lu, the attorney representing the motels owner, said after the Planning Commission meeting that hes hopeful he can still work with city officials to iron out a solution. While some of the motels guests are from China, others are Orange County women practicing the traditional 30-day Chinese confinement after giving birth, Lu said. (During that 30-day period, the new moms follow strict dietary rules and do not go out while they are taken care of either at home or in a post-partum center.)


We also have locals and their family members staying, Lu said.


The stigma of birth tourism and the bad history on this (project) has overshadowed our efforts to make this proper and right, Lu added.


Planning commissioners said they are not revoking the permit because the facility is used as a birth tourism venue.  They voted to shut down the motel, they said, because the owner did not accurately describe the facility when he sought the permit in 2015 and, later, after final review and approval, he made unpermitted alterations such as subdividing rooms and adding bedrooms.



You knew what you were doing, Commissioner Ernest Glasgow told JR Motel owner Chi Huang, who has an inactive contractor license affiliated with JR Investment Limited.


Most of the violations have since been corrected, both sides said.


Meanwhile, the JR Motel was the only lodge in the city that did not pay a transient occupancy tax.  The JR began paying hotel taxes last October, city officials said.


Motel attorney Lu said his client would agree to most conditions city officials recently wanted to impose for the facility to stay open, including periodic inspections and requiring 90 % of the motel to be transient, which mean guests would stay for no more than 30 consecutive days.


We just have to do it differently. Were willing to work with the city, Lu said.


But city officials said they had been fooled once and were not confident of any assurances given now.


There were no violations when it was approved. And then, there were, said Mary Binning, senior assistant city attorney.


Commissioner Doug Willits told the owner that he has shown a blatant disrespect for conditions agreed to in the permit, and that the motel has created a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars.


Source: https://www.ocregister.com


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