CHESHIRE -- The stage is set for an Oct. 9 battle over another proposed rent increase on the 95 units at Pine Valley Motor Home Park off Wells Road.
The conflict touched off at a recent rent control hearing concerning the proposal from Pittsford, N.Y., landlord Morgan Management, which would increase tenants' monthly bills by $38.27 from the roughly $205 per month they now pay.
One attorney representing Morgan, Robert Kraus, and another representing the park's tenants' association reportedly butted heads at the hearing, which was attended by 33 tenants of the park.
The attorney representing the tenants questioned the legality of the increase Morgan is seeking. The attorney's name was unavailable Thursday but he reportedly practices in Springfield.
"[The two attorneys] were quoting verse and chapter," said Selectwoman Carol Francesconi in an interview Thursday.
Francesconi, along with Cheshire's other two Selectmen Paul Astorino and Gloria Lewis, serve as the town's rent control board.
She said the Aug. 19 hearing was continued until Oct. 9 to allow she and the others to separate wheat from chaff. They'll seek Town Counsel Edmund St. John III's input on the issue at an upcoming regular meeting.
If granted, the increase would become the second in as many years, as tenants' rent jumped $65 per month in February 2012.
Morgan claims an ongoing septic upgrade at the park that was mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection has necessitated the increase.
Evidence of work can be seen there. Roads are torn up and other digging has been done at the site. The project is estimated to cost $413,000. Its object is to install new septic for 33 of the park's units and thereby relieve the entire system, which has failed and flooded numerous times in recent years.
In his rent increase petition, Kraus lists the useful life of the septic upgrade at 15 years. The rent increase, equal to $44,000 extra per year for the landlord, would add up to $660,000 over that period.
The continuation of the hearing Oct. 9 will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the town senior center on School Street.
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