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City of Apache Junction, Arizona Rescinds OK for a Value Place Extended Stay Hotel;
Objects to Value Place's Low Budget Approach

By Art Martori, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Dec. 30, 2006 - The Apache Junction City Council in a special meeting Friday overturned an earlier decision to allow an extendedstay hotel in the city.

Councilman Richard Dietz called for the meeting, at which the City Council voted to rescind its own re-zoning decision, requiring the developer of the Value Place hotel to restart the zoning process, or to build the hotel elsewhere.

The City Council on Dec. 5 voted to re-zone roughly two acres near the Tomahawk Road exit off U.S. 60 to allow construction of a four-story, 121-unit hotel.

Council members objected to the low-budget approach of Value Place and said they were concerned it might become run-down and a haven for criminals.

Donald Rich, of BHG Development Company, told the council members that cost-effectiveness was the reason the Value Place franchise was successful.

"That's the premise of how we operate," he said. "And it works."

Value Place operates 25 hotels in 13 states and has 75 more locations planned to open across the country. The hotels typically don't offer amenities such as a restaurant, fitness center or a pool.

Dietz -- who reversed a vote he cast at the meeting earlier this month -- said he called police officials in Wichita, Kan., to see if the Value Place in that city attracted crime.

"They have the highest rate of burglary, prostitution, calls like that," Dietz said.

Councilman Kris Sippel said he was concerned about a proposed 45-foot-tall sign at Value Place that would flash an animated message to traffic on U.S. 60.

Rich said after the meeting he wasn't sure if he would still try to build a Value Place in Apache Junction.

"I don't know. We've got 16 acres," he said. "We've got to do something with it."

Councilman Joseph Severs issued a statement after the meeting, expressing his disappointment that the City Council hindered development.

"I am ashamed to be on the same Council as some of you, the ones who truly don't care about our citizens," he said. "To deny this project after these people have addressed every single concern we had just makes you look stupid."

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Copyright (c) 2006, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

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