Thursday August 9, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN -- The owner of The Spruces Mobile Home Park has dropped a legal action against the town and state that could have forced out some residents still living in homes damaged last year by Tropical Storm Irene.

Town Manager Peter Fohlin said the decision by Bob and Kevin Morgan to withdraw the legal matter will allow the town and Morgan Management to devote all their resources to the future of Spruces residents rather than costly litigation.

"During the past year, the town has developed a constructive and respectful relationship with Bob Morgan and Kevin Morgan in our efforts to resolve very difficult and complicated issues," Fohlin said in a statement. "The town and Morgan Management, along with the holder of the mortgage on The Spruces, have been in continuous good faith discussions about the future of the park and its residents."

Fohlin said the town learned this week that Morgan Management had dropped the legal action.

The legal action was one of three Morgan Management filed against the town of Williamstown and the Attorney General’s Office in Berkshire Superior Court last fall. Morgan Management’s motion, filed last November, sought a judge’s order to force Williamstown officials to remove Spruces residents living in condemned homes and to require those residents to tell Morgan Management what they planned to do about their homes.

In August, Tropical Storm Irene flooded The Spruces, causing 273 of the retirement community’s residents to be displaced. Of the park’s original 226 homes, 66 have been cleared for occupancy by the town with the potential of a total of 68 being habitable again.

Morgan Management’s motion had also sought to hold Spruces residents responsible for removing storm debris and to allow the company to reorder, relocate and consolidate the park.

Fohlin said that, to his knowledge, court hearings on the two other legal issues -- one to determine the future of The Spruces, and the other to add more than 100 Spruces residents as defendants in the lawsuit -- are unscheduled.

Efforts to reach Bob Morgan or a representative for Morgan Manage ment’s legal counsel were unsuccessful.