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Hotel Petaluma activists take plea to City Council

Residents of the Hotel Petaluma and their advocates Monday sought help from the City Council in their campaign against the hotel owner, who is converting the residential hotel back into traditional overnight lodging.

Terry Andrews of Marin County purchased the single-room occupancy residence last year after the previous owner lost the 1923 building to the bank. Andrews said he initially planned only to renovate the building, but later decided to return the hotel to its roots as a traditional hotel, and he issued eviction notices to the 100 or so tenants.

The requests for help were made during the public appearances section of the council meeting and thus were not part of the council agenda for review or decision-making.

Although not subsidized low-income housing, the hotel traditionally has housed tenants of lesser means. Rents were well below market, partially because the rooms don't have kitchens and many don't have bathrooms.

About 20 tenants or former tenants are working with the Sonoma County Solidarity Network, an offshoot of the Occupy Santa Rosa advocacy group, to protest changes.

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