Tuesday, 08 January 2019 22:12

Rockingham council gives Regal Inn owners another month

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Owners of the former Regal Inn property have another month to clean up before the city steps in. Owners of the former Regal Inn property have another month to clean up before the city steps in. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — City leaders are giving a former hotel owner another month to progress on cleaning up — two years after it was destroyed by a fire.


City Planner John Massey asked the City Council on Tuesday to hold off voting on a demolition ordinance that was on the agenda.

According to a memorandum included in the agenda packet, the city initiated abandoned structure proceedings on the former Regal Inn property in July. 

An early morning fire swept through the hotel in late January of 2017, with three departments — Rockingham, Hamlet and Cordova — responding. Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler indicated that the top floor was fully engulfed by the time crews arrived.

Ram K. Agarwal, president of Carolina Lodgings, Inc., and other parties of interest were notified of a hearing with the code enforcement officer, according to the memo.

Building Inspector Tim Combs told the RO in August that the property owners — along with their architect, engineer and general contractor — met Aug. 15 with city officials for that hearing.

Unfolding a set of architectural plans that were brought to the hearing, Combs said in August that it appeared that a new hotel, similar to the old one, was in the works at the same location.  But, he added, more engineering plans were required before he could issue any permits.

At the time, Combs said property owners had 90 days to demolish the remnants or apply for a building permit for construction.

Flash forward to Nov. 13: the deadline to either repair or demolish the remnants of the building.

Again, notices were sent.

When the memo was written on Dec. 21, Massey said: “Very little action has been taken by anyone to date regarding the condition of the subject property.”

However, Massey told the City Council that property owners made contact this week and requested the issue be held.

“I don’t want to take it off the agenda because I think this was the motivation that got them in here,” he said. “But I would recommend you table it until the February meeting and see if it will keep nudging him along.”

Mayor Steve Morris then asked if it could be limited to a one-time postponement, later adding that a lot of residents have been asking when it was going to be torn down.

“Let’s just see what kind of progress he makes over the next month,” Massey replied.