Residents have no place to go after Econo Lodge rezoned for new development

Dozens of families calling a South Charlotte motel home are looking for new places to stay.
Dozens of families who call a South Charlotte motel home are looking for a new place to stay tonight.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:43 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Dozens of families calling a South Charlotte motel home are looking for new places to stay.

This comes after the property was rezoned by the city council and sold to a developer looking to turn the motel into workforce housing apartments.

The re-zoning process for this motel was voted on in August, but people didn’t start feeling the pressure until the middle of September when they received notices to vacate.

This motel officially closed Friday, but people still call it home.

“We just need time to figure out what our next move is,” said Harley Blair, who lives in Econo Lodge.

Time has been the issue for people calling the Econo Lodge in south Charlotte home.

Also Read: Some forced to vacate homes in north Charlotte given an extension to find new homes

Mickayah Moore, who also lives in Econo Lodge added, “now all of a sudden, they’re oh, the place is sold, so no one had time to save money, nobody had time to have a plan B, plan C, or plan D.”

Neighbors tell me the first notice to leave by the end of the month came Sept. 14.

Blair said, “I don’t how we’re supposed to be out in that many days when we don’t have any money saved.”

The notice came roughly a month after Charlotte City Council voted to approve rezoning for the site. Councilmembers Watlington and Johnson vocally opposing the move.

Victoria Watlington, District 3 Council Member said during the August 15th meeting, “Folks are concerned in regard to what’s going to happen to families who live there currently.”

Renee Johnson, the District 4 Council Member added, “The last petition that displaced, that knowingly displaced individuals weren’t even a direct result of anything the city council did, this one would be, so for that reason, I can’t support it.”

Nearly two-months after the vote, their fears have become reality.

Apryl Lewis, the Housing Justice Organizer for Action North Carolina said, “as of right now, I would say it’s about 30 to 40 households actually impacted, and that’s including children as well.”

Resources have been directed to help the families, but any movement is slow because of the current housing crisis in Charlotte.

Lewis said, “we don’t have anywhere to move them and that’s the issue, the only answer that we actually have immediately is to rehouse them into another hotel to start the same cycle over again which is just unacceptable.”

With several notices to leave and no place affordable to go, people that WBTV talked to are unsure of their next steps.

Moore said, “That just leaves me high and dry, that leaves me trying to figure it out.”

“It’s so hard trying to deal with this and go to work, come home and deal with this some more,” said Blair.

“At this point, the only thing that is necessary is time,” said Lewis.

Today, people living there woke up to notices telling them to they were trespassing and to vacate the property immediately for their safety. This notice came after gas was shut off to the buildings, leaving them with no hot water to take showers. Residents tell WBTV the motel could go without power starting Thursday.

The soon-to-be owners of the complex did not comment and the current owners were unreachable.