ROCKLAND — The Rockland City Council voted Monday night to reject a renewal of the lodging license for the city’s largest, yet code-plagued, motel.

The Council voted 3-1 at its Monday, Nov. 8 meeting to reject a renewal for the Trade Winds at 2 Park Drive. Mayor Ed Glaser, and Councilors Louise MacLellan-Ruf and Ben Dorr voted against the renewal, while Councilor Nate Davis argued for another postponement.

The current lodging house license expired Oct. 15. The Council voted at its Sept. 13 and Oct. 13 meetings to postpone a renewal vote after the fire department and code office reported the motel owners had not yet complied with corrections needed to meet safety codes.

Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell said after the Nov. 8 meeting he will need to look at the codes to see if it spells out the next move, or if he contacts the owners and has them cease operations immediately, until the inn is up to code standards. Luttrell said Tuesday afternoon that the license technically runs through Nov. 15 because when the Council posted extending it in October, that extended the license for 30 days which runs through Nov. 15.

The 99-room motel’s parking lot was nearly full on Tuesday morning.

Rockland Fire Chief Christopher Whytock spoke to the Council before its Monday night vote.

“Maybe this is a good opportunity for the Council to add teeth to the bark,” the fire chief said.

He said the fire department and code office have gone back to the motel “over and over again,” but issues pointed out have not been corrected. He said they went for one last week and it was a waste of time. He said because of the age and size of the building there will be small issues which the owners have been receptive to correct, but not so on the larger issues.

The chief said after the meeting the city has yet to do the full inspection, because it has not received confirmation from the Trade Winds that it has scheduled the sprinkler work directed at previous inspections dating back at least two months. The sprinkler work needed includes repositioning existing piping and sprinkler heads, replacing sprinkler heads that had been painted and rendered ineffective, and replacing a faulty tamper switch.

He said the other issue is work done without permits.

“No electrician would take ownership of the work that was done, and after a few trips down to the property, we were still not given access to see what we needed,” Whytock said. “We all agreed for the time being that the power was disconnected to the rooms in question and work would stop until all inspections could take place.”

The Trade Winds had a series of fires at the motel in May 2019 that were suspected of being electrical. Three rooms were heavily damaged in those fires.

Electrical work was reportedly done, but the work was enclosed before an inspection by the city could be done. The chief said the city asked the walls be reopened so the electrical work can be inspected, but that has not been done.

The chief said the last thing the city wants to do is to close a business, but he cannot sign off on a license with these questions and concerns.

The Trade Winds passed its January inspection by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, but the inspection found five non-critical violations, including appliances that were not properly cleaned or maintained.

This is not the first time that the Trade Winds lodging license has been at risk.

In October 2016, the City Council held off renewal following a report of code violations. That occurred shortly after the motel’s deficiencies were widely publicized in an episode of the reality TV show “Hotel Impossible.” The Council did extend the time for the inn owners to comply with the codes.

At that 2016 meeting, Councilor Valli Geiger said the motel had a complete disregard for safety and Rockland codes and embarrassed Rockland nationally.

In the show titled “The Pain in Maine,” the Travel Channel show reported finding numerous violations of safety codes. Those included household extension cords being used in ceilings of rooms and charred wiring near insulation. There also were problems found with the room where the fire alarm control panels were located. The show also pointed out the kitchen had been closed by a state health inspector shortly before the television crew arrived.

The Trade Winds, with views of Rockland Harbor, was built in the mid-1960s, but has expanded multiple times over the decades.

Email messages were left with the Trade Winds early Tuesday morning. The Trade Winds is owned by Liberty Hospitality of Maine, LLC whose members are Stephen and Aimee Liberty, according to the Maine Bureau of Corporations.