City of WF Makes Statement Regarding Old Holiday Inn Hotel
In the wake of all of the unexpected publicity the Hotel at Wichita Falls, formerly a Holiday Inn, has been getting via a video on YouTube, the City of Wichita Falls has made a public statement.
The statement was released on Friday, April 9th, and makes two important points. One: The city does not own the hotel building and no demolition orders are in place. Two: Entering a property without the consent of the owner is trespassing and punishable by a fine, jail time, or both.
The City of Wichita Falls is aware of a video circulating on social media of an individual who illegally trespassed and filmed the interior of the Hotel at the Falls.
• The individual stated that the City will be tearing the hotel down. This is false. The property is not owned by the City and there is not a demolition order on the structure. The property does have a lot of vandalism and cosmetic damage and major repairs have been recommended to the property owner. However, the structure does not currently meet the criteria for demolition. The property owner has been fined multiple times for various code violations at this location.
• As a reminder, according to the Texas Penal Code statute 30.05, entering onto a property without the effective consent of the owner is considered the offense of Criminal Trespass. The penalty is a Class B Misdemeanor which involves a punishment of up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, or both. Please do not trespass!
Among other places, the statement was released on the City of Wichita Falls, Texas Government Facebook page. While there are plenty of comments encouraging this action or that action it is important to remember that there are laws and codes limiting what the city is able to do in situations like this. Just as there are laws prohibiting trespassing on private property to shoot YouTube videos even if the property appears to be abandoned.
You can see the original story about the recent YouTube video here.