WILLIAMSTOWN -- The owner of The Spruces Mobile Home Park has filed a lawsuit, naming the town and the state Attorney General's Office as defendants, asking the court for assistance in determining the park's future following Tropical Storm Irene.
Attorney Robert Kraus, who is representing Morgan Management, said Tuesday he has filed an action for a judge's determination on behalf of his client, asking the court to help Morgan Management in interpreting the law regarding the future of The Spruces, he said.
"No manufactured housing community in the commonwealth has sustained the kind of damage Tropical Storm Irene wreaked on this park," he said.
The Oct. 18 complaint will be heard in Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield, but a date hasn't been determined yet.
According to the complaint, Morgan Management is asking the court to clarify its responsibilities in operating and restoring The Spruces in the aftermath of flooding caused by Irene.
Specifically, the Pittsford, N.Y., company is asking the court to declare the damage an act of God; determine who is responsible for the physical and financial expense of removing mobile homes declared uninhabitable by Williamstown; determine the extent to which the expenses incurred by Morgan Management may be recouped from tenants; determine who bears the costs of relocating any mobile homes within The Spruces if a determination is made to
According to state manufactured housing community regulations, the owner of such a community can discontinue it and use the property for another purpose, but only in "good faith."
Kraus said the law is very clear on discontinuing a manufactured housing community if the owner does it voluntarily, but nobody has ever encountered a situation where an act of God would cause a mobile home park to be discontinued.
"We may need court input and direction to consolidate the community, if it's to go on as an existing community," he said.
In its complaint, Morgan Management stated that it would need 80 percent of the park's 226 home sites to be occupied for the park to sustain itself, and the company is only collecting rents from residents who have moved back into their homes.
In addition, Morgan Management isn't able to financially provide the services to The Spruces it had before Irene because of the reduction in the number of residents living in the park, the complaint stated.
"There exists a valid controversy as to what services the plaintiff can provide to its residents as a manufactured housing community, and the extent to which the park can continue in its present size and scope," the complaint said.
Brad Puffer, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said that the state agency will present its position in court.
"We do not agree with Morgan's position that due to Tropical Storm Irene they can ignore existing Massachusetts law governing manufactured housing communities," he said.
Town Manager Peter L. Fohlin said at the Selectmen's meeting Monday night that the town is named in the suit primarily because it is where the park is located.
To reach Meghan Foley,