North Adams Transcript
ADAMS -- Change began Friday at the Dug-Out Motel with a visit from court-appointed manager Douglas Rose, who'll play a supervisory role in coming efforts to improve conditions there before tenants can be relocated.
A Springfield housing court granted Rose, an Albany, N.Y.-based attorney of Tully Rinckley PLLC, receivership of the motel last Friday.
Code Enforcement Officer Scott Koczela expressed hopes on Friday, while at the Route 8 motel, that unsafe and inhumane conditions previously observed by town employees while inspecting its rooms, will start being allayed.
"Rose did well for us in the past [as receiver of the Borer properties, auctioned in 2009]," Koczela said. "He was our first choice."
In 2009, the motel became a boarding house under managers Guravater Enterprises, LLC, who assumed the property from Shoba, Inc. Under state law, the motel is not allowed to have residencies of over one month. Virtually all of tenants living in its 12 occupied rooms are long-term, including a family of eight who lives in a 213-square-foot room -- falling far short of health and sanitary codes.
A possible rodent infestation was also reported.
These and other concerns prompted the Board of Health to order the building vacated in November.
After Friday's walk through with Rose, Koczela said the date tenants will be forced to leave is yet to be determined, but that the town is working with Berkshire Regional Housing Authority's Tenancy Preservation Project (TPP) to find new housing for each, giving priority to families and handicapped individuals.
"Everyone is still here now, but one individual is slated to leave Monday and we've just heard that housing will be available for the family of eight in mid-January," Koczela said.
Rose's receivership is intended to ensure tenants access to utilities and that immediate concerns like sodden floorboards, absent carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, broken doors, soiled carpeting and more are addressed, in order to "guarantee that people are being safely housed" in the interim, Koczela said.
But all must ultimately leave, and the motel operate according to law if its to reopen. Relocating tenants to local shelters will be considered, if necessary, Koczela said.
"We can't have people here for extended periods of time anymore," he said.
A secondary option for the business is to rezone and renovate to allow for long-term tenants.
Koczela thanked TPP for providing an "essential service."
To reach Phil Demers,