Still ignoring city hall orders, Boutique Hotel again faces demolition

Friday, 23 May 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 21 By  Warunya Thongrod

Nearly six months after the forced demolition of an annex at the Boutique Hotel, area officials are again threatening legal action against the South Pattaya inn for failing to remove three illegal floors of its main building.

Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho and Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh led a team of city engineers in an inspection of the hotel on Soi VC May 15, a day after Pattaya Business & Tourism Association President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn complained about the Boutique’s continued defiance of government orders.

(L to R) Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, PBTA President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn, and Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho inspect the illegal top floors at the Boutique Hotel on Soi VC.(L to R) Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, PBTA President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn, and Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho inspect the illegal top floors at the Boutique Hotel on Soi VC.

What they found was little had changed since Nov. 26, when 50 police and government workers swooped in to demolish an annex built without permission and in violation of fire and safety codes. At the same time, officials ordered the removal of the top three floors of its main building, which also were added without permit or inspection.

Owned by Jomtien Holiday Inn Co., which is managed by Alongkorn Saewang, the Boutique was found in mid-2012 to have massively violated building codes. The Building Control Office ordered work stopped on the annex and prohibited use of the illegal floors in existing hotel. Both orders were ignored, as did a second stop-work order issued a month later.

On Jan. 30, 2013, the city Engineering Office condemned the building, ordering Jomtien Holiday Inn to demolish the structure within 60 days. Not only was that order ignored, but construction continued as before. In July last year, Pattaya City Hall went to court to force the demolition, which finally was carried out on Nov. 26.

As he did with the annex, Alongkarn begged the city to hold off demolition of the illegal floors, promising to do it himself. He was given 180 days to do so, but, after checking out the hotel himself, Sinchai went to Sakchai to complain that nothing had been removed.

“The building has persisted as a problem for years,” Sinchai said. “We fear for the safety of customers. Therefore, the business sector requests the district to take serious action to inspect and remove the floors, which could collapse, seriously damaging Pattaya’s tourism industry.”

The snap inspection May 15 revealed that the hotel’s bottom floors were still open for business and Banglamung Permanent Secretary Praphan Pathumchomp ordered the arrest of two Boutique managers under the Hotel Act of 2004 for operating without proper permits. Both face up to a year in jail and fines of up to 30,000 baht.

Sakchai said the only work done in the past six months has been the removal of equipment. And the district chief pointed an accusatory finger at Pattaya City Hall for that inaction.

“There has not been much progress, perhaps because Pattaya did not follow through on enforcement,” Sakchai said. “The city should have given importance to this matter and constantly sent officers to inspect the property.”

Sakchai ordered the city to request that the Provincial Electrical Authority and Provincial Waterworks Authority stop power and water to the hotel to force it into action. A few days remained of the 180 the hotel’s owners were given to demolish the floors. Sakchai said he’d wait out the deadline, then take action if nothing were done.

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