WILLIAMSTOWN -- An appeal filed by the owner of The Spruces Mobile Home Park, seeking to reverse the Mobile Home Rent Control Board's denial of its petition for a rent increase, has been dismissed.
According to a judgment ruling issued by Berkshire Superior Court on Sept. 5, the complaint filed by Morgan Management was dismissed without prejudice for failure to prosecute. The ruling further stated that Morgan Management had "failed to appear and prosecute for failing to file a motion for judgment on the pleadings by July 27, 2012 as ordered."
Jack Nogueira, chairman of the Mobile Home Rent Control Board, said Friday that while he is glad the court's finding was in the board's favor, the decision isn't something the board is glowing about given the tragedy of the flooding at The Spruces during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.
"This isn't a win-win situation for anyone," he said.
He feels bad for Morgan Management and the loss that it has experienced, as well as the park's tenants, many of who still don't have homes, he said.
"When we started this, we didn't know this tragedy was going to happen. It has been a loss for everyone concerned," he said.
A message left Friday afternoon for Robert Morgan, owner of Morgan Management, wasn't returned.
The flooding from Irene displaced The Spruces' 273 residents. To date, only 66 of the park's 225 homes have been cleared for occupancy by the
Morgan Management filed the appeal on April 20, 2012 following the Mobile Home Rent Control Board issuing a written decision on March 30 that denied the company's request to increase rent paid by Spruces tenants. The appeal stated that the board had violated state administrative procedure by not abiding by certain requirements and duties, preventing it from conducting a full and fair hearing. It also asked the court to remand the matter back to the board for a decision based on the evidence in the record, and order that any rent increase be retroactive to the date that its petition for the increase was submitted to the town.
The petition for a rent increase was submitted in July 2010, and the Mobile Home Rent Control Board began meeting about it in September of that year.
According to the appeal, the evidence presented to the board supported a rent of about $370 per month without the $6 municipal lot tax. At the time, residents of The Spruces were paying $258 for a small lot and $270 for a large lot. There hadn't been a rent increase since Morgan Management purchased the park in 2002.
To reach Meghan Foley, email