ADAMS -- The former occupants of 15 rooms inside a town motel ordered closed due to violations are relocated, the bussiness' future uncertain.
"The Dug-Out Motel is now officially empty," Code Enforcement Officer Scott Koczela announced at a Board of Health (BOH) meeting Wednesday.
The final occupant left Sunday, Koczela said, relocated to an apartment in Adams.
Berkshire Regional Housing Authority helped the town place tenants, and additional assistance came from the public.
"People are still stepping forward," Koczela said. "Residents of the Adams, church groups -- a lot of people deserve a lot of credit for volunteering their time to help."
The Howland Avenue motel was ordered vacated by the BOH in November, reportedly due to sanitary concerns and violations of state building codes.
Douglas Rose, a New York attorney, was granted receivership of the premises in housing court the following month.
He said Wednesday that the Dug- Out's future depends on its owners and managers, two separate entities.
"The receiver is awaiting a rehabilitation plan from the owner and its mortgagee," Rose said in an email. "We have a hearing [in housing court] next Wednesday to report this status to the Judge."
Shoba, Inc., a Sharma family corporation, owns the motel and Avtar Bawaja and Gurinder Baweja had been operating it under Guravtar Enterprises LLC since 2009. Whether the property sees rehabilitation is
According to Koczela, the two are unlikely to see eye-to-eye on which side will pay a "pretty hefty bill" that's forthcoming from the receiver.
The bill will comprise all expenses taken on since Rose took over managing the property, essentially the job of a receiver. The town is also owed $600 for one emergency heating oil delivery. Koczela thought the two may take one another to court.
Shoba's attorney indicated in December that their agreement with Guravtar was similar to a rental-purchase, and the owners reportedly said they had been unaware of conditions at the motel before it was ordered closed.
Overpopulation, missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, broken doors and sodden floorboards and potential rodents were among the conditions that resulted in November's vacate order.
If upgrades are made, the business could reopen as a motel accepting patrons of no more than 30 days. Some have said the business would be unsustainable under this stipulation, and this is why it had formerly accepted tenants like a boarding house. To continue the latter practice, a full-on renovation would have to be undertaken to expand room size and install sinks, stoves and other amenities.
In other business at the meeting, Koczela said Berkshire County Boards of Health Association will hold its spring meeting on April 22 at Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield. The event starts at 5 p.m. and speakers include Rose and Western Massachusetts Attorney General William O'Neill.
Wednesday's meeting also saw the board assign a new chair, member Patricia Clairmont. Former Chair Richard Frost recently resigned. The board seeks to fill the vacancy with Allen Mendel, a former member whose volunteered to re-up.
"He was quite an energetic and positive [member]," Clairmont said. "I think it would be a beneficial appointment."
To reach Phil Demers, email