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County to consider possible ban on 'maternity hotels'

January 29, 2013 | 12:49 pm
Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe asked county staff Tuesday to find ways to crack down on so-called maternity hotels, where pregnant Chinese women who travel to the United States stay before and after giving birth.

Knabe also called for an ordinance that would use zoning regulations to prohibit the practice.

The hotels have recently drawn attention in the Los Angeles area, particularly in the San Gabriel Valley, where neighbors protested the practice in Chino Hills in December. A report by the county's Regional Planning Department found there had been about 60 complaints from citizens about the hotels in the last month.

Knabe said in his motion that the hotels "are clearly violating county code" in residential areas and "pose a significant public safety and public health hazard."

He asked the county's chief executive office to facilitate multi-agency inspections of the hotels, including multiple county departments as well as the state Franchise Tax Board and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and to look for funding to provide the inspectors with Mandarin and Cantonese translators.

He also asked the county's attorneys to draft an ordinance that would "eliminate the use through zoning regulations."

The executive office is to return to the board with a report in 60 days.

The other county supervisors did not weigh in on Knabe's proposals during Tuesday's meeting.

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-- Abby Sewell

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