ADAMS -- The people who used to live in a town motel that's being vacated may sue its owners and former managers for damages.
According to Code Enforcement Officer Scott Koczela, a majority of former tenants of Howland Avenue's Dug-Out Motel came to this conclusion at a meeting in Pittsfield housing court Wednesday.
Attorney Lance S. Chavin, who attended a Board of Health (BOH) meeting that touched upon the issue Wednesday, confirmed the development.
"It's my understanding that [the former tenants] are attempting to get counsel to do so," Chavin said.
If they choose this route, the defendants will be motel owner Shoba, Inc., run by the Sharma family, and Avtar Baweja and Gurinder Baweja, of Guravtar Enterprises LLC, managers at the time the vacate order was issued.
BOH officials made their order in November due to health, safety and legal issues at the Dug-Out. These included overpopulation in tight quarters, potential rat problems and an established policy of accepting tenants for years at a time despite a 30-day limit.
As of Friday, two of 15 rooms at the motel will still be occupied by a total of six people. One remaining family of four is due to move out March 1, and the two occupants of the other room have stopped answering town inquiries. The town issued a second vacate order on them that must be complied with by Friday.
"These two individuals are going to have to move out, or the police will remove them," Koczela said.
The town has worked with Berkshire Regional Housing Authority on relocation efforts. Most relocations have been to apartments or shelters in North Adams and several within town.
In other business at the BOH meeting, Sarah McColgan and Joan Rubel of Northern Berkshire Tobacco-Free Community Partnership impelled members to increase the town's regulations on tobacco and the sale of certain nicotine delivery products.
Rubel said the availability and lack of regulation of relatively new items like electronic cigarettes, blunt wraps, nicotine pouches and flavored mini-cigars "go through a loophole in how our laws are written" and could become "a new entry into a nicotine addiction" because some don't require identification to purchase.
All these items are available at convenience stores in town, but McColgan said the board should also consider "proactive" bans on things that haven't yet found their way to Adams -- like hookah bars.
McColgan made apparent her belief that such establishments -- originating in the ancient Middle East and popular in many American cities -- are disgusting.
They advocated too a ban on the sale of tobacco in town pharmacies.
To reach Phil Demers, email