WILLIAMSTOWN -- Attorneys for the town and park owner Morgan Management LLC are moving closer to reaching a signed agreement on the transfer of the Spruces Mobile Home Park.
Town Manager Peter Fohlin presented this news, along with a draft timeline of the $6.13 million Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant, at Monday night's meeting of Selectmen.
An updated purchase agreement for the 114 acre mobile home park, which lost 150 units during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, has been sent to Kevin Morgan, who will confer with the company's attorney, Robert Kraus, he said.
"Most importantly, I told him time is of the essence because Selectmen have only one regularly scheduled meeting in August," Fohlin said. "I told him that this would be a good time to quicken our step."
Under the terms of the grant awarded to the town in March, the town would assume ownership of the park from the Rochester, NY-based property owner, which would paid $600,000 of the grant money. While the company has agreed on these conditions, no formal, signed agreement is in place.
The remaining funds would go toward reimbursing residents for their losses and clearing the park of all structures.
The draft project timeline Fohlin presented has Aug. 12 as a target date for Selectmen to sign the agreement with Morgan for the Spruces property transfer. If the agreement is signed, Morgan would issue a notice to residents by certified mail, stating their intention to transfer the park to the town for discontinuance, he said.
"That triggers the residents' 45 day right of first refusal to either exercise or assign it to someone else," Fohlin said.
In that period, 51 percent of the residents would need to vote on purchasing the park themselves or assign the responsibility to another party -- a right allowed under state law.
If residents don't exercise the right, a special town meeting to vote on acquiring the land could be held as early as September.
"If the town votes to acquire the Spruces land, then the town as the new owner would notify park residents we are in fact going to discontinue the park," he said. "Residents would be protected for 24 months from having to leave the park."
The timeline has October as a target for disbursing grant funds to all parties, and September 2015 as a deadline for all residents to vacate the Spruces; 24 months after the town meeting vote.
Fohlid said that March 28, 2016 marks the end of the 36-month grant performance period, meaning structures must be removed, grant money must be spent, and the land must be placed into conservation.
Chairwoman Jane Allen thanked Fohlin for the timeline.
"Numerous groups and people have been asking for something like this, and I think it will be helpful even for us to move forward to keep the sequence," she said.
To reach Edward Damon, email email@example.com.