WILLIAMSTOWN - A special town meeting asking voters to acquire The Spruces Mobile Home Park could happen in November, Town Manager Peter Fohlin said.
"I say November because we're already at the end of September," he explained to Selectmen during their Monday night meeting. "We don't have a warrant for a special town meeting yet. We'd want to give several weeks notice, perhaps even longer than the statutory requirement. We're moving into November pretty quickly at that point."
The town meeting is the next step in a timeline town officials have created to relocate residents of the mobile home park, which is located in a 100year floodplain and lost 150 units during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. The park's owner, Morgan Management, of Pittsford, N.Y., has stated the park is operating at a loss and that it intends to close the park.
Town officials have accepted a $6.13 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant, which will allow the town to assume ownership of the park from Morgan Management, remove all existing structures from the park and relocate residents to housing elsewhere.
On Monday, Fohlin also updated Selectmen on small technical procedures in the process forward.
The town had previously requested an exception to a FEMA requirement that existing structures be removed within 90 days of taking ownership. But FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Paul Ford had denied the town's request, Fohlin said.
The town will not take ownership and place a conservation restriction on the land until just prior to when the grant performance period ends on March 28, 2016, he explained, when grant money must be spent.
Another piece was a vote to be taken by The Spruces Tenants Association on their right of first refusal, or right under state law to match the purchase price.
The Attorney General's Office has determined that because The Spruces Tenants Association vote was dated Aug. 19 and the Morgan notice was dated Aug. 21, the town must wait a full 45 days for the refusal to be effective.
"That will take us to Oct. 5, which doesn't delay anything because that date is not on the critical path," Fohlin said.
The town will also be required to higher a relocation agent, Fohlin said, to relocate Spruces residents.
"We are in the procurement process now," Fohlin said. "It has to be an open competitive Chapter 30 B process ... and the person that we select has to be approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development [DHCD]."
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