Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reprieve Rejected for Troubled Motel; Clay County Judge Denies Motion to Give Parkway Inn Another Chance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reprieve Rejected for Troubled Motel; Clay County Judge Denies Motion to Give Parkway Inn Another Chance

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski

ORANGE PARK | A Clay County Circuit Court judge Monday summarily denied a motion from the owner of a crime-infested rundown Orange Park motel who sought an emergency rehearing to convince the court to rescind its order shutting down the troubled establishment that the town declared a public nuisance.

Judge Mike Sharrit ordered the Parkway Inn, formerly known as the Rodeway Inn, to shut down July 1 and to remain closed through Dec. 31.

The judge issued a ruling Wednesday that enforces a closure petition issued by the Town of Orange Park, which declared the $40-a-night motel a public nuisance because of pervasive criminal activity - including meth labs and other drug offenses - and chronic public safety, health and building code violations.

On Friday, Dan Copeland, an attorney representing motel owner Jax Inns Inc., filed a motion an for an emergency rehearing and reconsideration of the closure order.

Sharrit denied the motel's motion in a concise, one-page ruling issued mid-morning Monday. "Upon due consideration, it is ordered respondent's motion for rehearing/reconsideration of order on petition for enforcement is denied," he wrote.

Copeland declined comment Monday.

Under Florida law, whether a rehearing was held fell entirely within the court's discretion. The motel wasn't entitled to automatically receive a rehearing.

Town Attorney Sam Garrison told the Times-Union the town saw no legal reason warranting reconsideration or reversal of the closure order.

Garrison also said the court's closure order is clear.

"If they are going to defy the order, then there are consequences for that, not from the town, but from the court," Garrison said. "From our perspective, we march ahead and assume they are going to comply until they don't comply."

In closing the motel, Sharrit ruled that all the evidence showed the town was within its authority and jurisdiction to shutter the 200-bed establishment at 300 Park Ave. …

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