Definitely No More Room in the Inn


In case you missed it, the City of Taunton, 25 minutes south of Franklin, has been in a legal wrangle with its sole hotel. According to published reports, Taunton has found the Clarion Hotel to be housing migrants and others beyond its permitted capacity. To date, the hotel has reportedly ignored the warnings and ignored the fines that the city issued.

So, earlier this year, Taunton took the hotel to court, with results still pending

In Franklin, where a Best Western has been converted to an emergency shelter, a similar problem seems to exist but the Town is taking a hands-off attitude.

Franklin’s Best Western has an overnight room capacity of 200 but, according to the ‘dashboard’ posted on the town Health Department website, the facility has consistently been housing more than 300 people day in and day out. When Health Director Cathleen Liberty was asked by email about this apparent overcapacity issue and whether the town was taking any action against the hotel operator, she referred the matter to Town Administrator, Jamie Hellen.

In an email last week, Hellen wrote, “As you know the state is managing the site and our staff have not been informed of any potential violations, at least that we are aware of. You may want to contact the state at the Housing and Livable Communities Office to see if they have found any violations and how they would manage these issues.”

With that as a prompt, Observer
reached out to the media relations staff person for the Housing and Livable Communities Office. Several days later there has still been no response.

Nor, according to the “dashboard” has there been any change in occupancy level. So, for now at least, the facility seems set to continue out of compliance, with obvious potential safety concerns as well as equity concerns relative to other facilities in town that are required to adhere to permitting requirements.

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