Pittsfield board OK's rent hike — lower than requested — for Allendale Pines mobile home park


PITTSFIELD — The City's Mobile Home Rent Control Board has approved a $30 monthly rent hike for tenants of the Allendale Pines mobile home park, but the figure is less than half the amount requested by the owners.

Morgan Management had sought a $70 per month lot rent increase in the current $190 rent during a March meeting of the board. The request was tabled until Monday, after board members requested further information.

Attorney Robert Kraus of Kraus & Hummel of Plymouth, representing Morgan Management, said the hike was requested in advance of a proposed sale to an investment group from the Springfield area. He said at the time that the deal was contingent upon the rent increase, which would be the first at the 55-lot park off Cheshire Road since 2010.

Kraus could not be reached on the status of the proposed sale.

Ward 4 City Councilor Christopher Connell, chairman of the rent control board, said park representatives left shortly after the board voted for a $30 monthly rent hike and did not indicate whether the sale would proceed.

Connell said the increase, which was approved unanimously, was considered a fair increase, while a $70 hike was considered too high by board members. The new monthly rent will rise to $220 per month.

He said that a letter to park tenants from the owners, which he had seen, listed the sale price as $575,000, although Connell did not know whether that figure had changed.

Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully, in whose ward the park is located, said tenants at the meeting who sat near her seemed to consider the increase a fair one. Tully said those tenants said, "We can live with that."

The councilor said many residents are elderly and on fixed incomes. "I think 70 [dollars] was crazy," she said.

Tully added that she has received a number of calls from residents concerning such issues as blighted or abandoned homes and an increase in criminal activity. She said she hopes a new owner will mean some upgrades and other improvements at the park.

At the March meeting board members Kenneth Ferris and Justine Dodds, the city's housing specialist, questioned some of the financial figures submitted by Morgan Management in support of its application for an increase and asked for more detail.

Connell said Tuesday that if the owners want to return with a plan for improvements at the park, coupled with another rent hike, the proposal could be considered by the board.

The board also had requested information from the city Health Department concerning a planned annual inspection of the park, which Connell said resulted recently in a half dozen code citations — some of which had been addressed before the meeting on Monday.

Those issues could not be directly linked to the rent hike, he said, but are within the purview of the Health Department, which could seek fines if violations are not addressed.

Kraus told the board in March that Morgan Management, which has operated mobile home parts in several states in the region, is transitioning out of that business to concentrate on apartment developments.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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