CHESHIRE -- The recent dismissal of litigation against Morgan Management marks the end of a significant problem for residents of Pine Valley Motor Home Park, as the company is now expected to undertake needed improvements to the park's septic system.
Selectmen announced the litigation's end at Tuesday's regular meeting as a "very good thing."
"They've been pumping [the septic system] daily down there so now they'll finally be able to rework the whole thing," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said. "It's a big deal for Pine Valley."
The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the complainant cannot refile the case. A letter from town counsel Edmund St. John III read at the meeting said "it now appears that construction of the new septic system can begin."
Francesconi said Selectmen have continuously received standing sewage complaints of late.
Morgan Management bought Pine Valley in 2003, aware that a septic improvement was required. In the planning stages, however, the company was faced with a lawsuit from an abutting property owner who complained that the proposed, above-ground system would devalue his home.
Since then, many of the park's septic systems have gone into total failure and Morgan Management has incurred "extraordinary costs" to provide daily pumping, according to the company's attorney Robert Kraus.
During a rent control hearing in December, Kraus said a new septic system serving 33 units
On Jan. 19, the Planning Board approved a permit filed by Morgan Management to install a new septic system in the park.
At the beginning of February, Selectmen granted Morgan Management a $65 per month rent increase -- up from $205 -- for park residents. The company had stated in rent control hearings that there had not been an increase in over a decade and that the park was operating at a loss due to pumping costs.
Since the increase, Morgan Management has filed nine eviction complaints against residents of the park. Francesconi said all but one were due to lack of payment.
In other town business, the Massachusetts State Grange has permitted Cheshire to establish a scholarship for Cheshire students in the field of green energy, using $40,000 that was leftover in an account formerly belonging to the defunct Cheshire Grange.
To reach Phil Demers, email email@example.com.