SAN BERNARDINO - San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt wants to know if the recent outbreak of "maternity hotels" is impacting unincorporated areas of the county.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday he asked staff to study the issue and bring back a report with recommendations in 60 days.

Among the items he wanted was recommendations on what the county can do, if necessary, to ensure the facilities are not operating illegally, negatively impacting neighborhoods and posing a threat to public health.

Ovitt cited a maternity hotel in Chino Hills that was recently shuttered after more than 2,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled from an overloaded septic system into neighborhood storm drains.

He said the hotel, which made national headlines, was found to have 10 unpermitted room additions, forcing city officials to take legal action to shutter the operation.

"This is an unregulated industry which has resulted in maternity hotels appearing in neighborhoods around Southern California and recently in my district," Ovitt said.

In a statement following Tuesday's meeting, Ovitt said that if it is deemed that steps should be taken to curtail the presence of maternity hotels and their impacts on neighborhoods, then he will make a recommendation to do so.

The "maternity hotels" are created to house wealthy pregnant women who come over seas with a visitor's visa to have their children on American soil.


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Earlier this month Los Angeles County supervisors passed a motion by Supervisor Don Knabe to form a task force to look at ways to better regulate these so-called hotels.

The two requests are in the wake of the dozens of complaints about maternity hotels in Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights as well as the maternity hotel operation in the home in Chino Hills.

"It's good to hear the supervisor is studying issues for their residents. It's appropriate for each agency to explore their options based on the recent maternity hotel publicity," said Chino Hills Mayor Peter Rogers of Ovitt's motion.

Chino Hills has taken steps to resolve the issue through code enforcement measures.

A public nuisance complaint filed Dec. 7 with the court alleged that the Chino Hills maternity hotel was being operated in the 7,964-square-foot house in violation of several code enforcement laws.

Most recently the city and the homeowner have entered into an agreement to bring the house up to city code.

Chino Hills residents belonging to a grassroots organization "Not In Chino Hills" are urging state and local officials to end the birth tourism business.

"We're supportive of anything that is going to move this issue forward and bring about community awareness so the voters become aware that this is an epidemic in our country, and it's becoming more of an epidemic in Southern California," said Rossana Mitchell, spokeswoman for the group.

"We want legislation to be implemented to stop this type of illegal business."


Reach Canan via email, call her at 909-987-6397 ext. 425, or find her on Twitter @ChinoValleyNow.
Reach Joe via email, call him at 909-386-3874, or find him on Twitter @SBCountyNow.