|Judge Halts Pittsfield Adult Learning Center Relocation|
|By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent|
11:38PM / Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Update on Wednesday, July 18, at 5:38 p.m.: Berkshire Superior Court judge finds for plaintiffs Philip and James Massery and grants an injunction preventing the city of Pittsfield from entering into a contract with GDL Associates to relocate the Adult Learning Center to property GDL owns.
"The plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction is ALLOWED and the City of Pittsfield is ENJOINED from implementing or enforcing any terms or obligations under the Contract with GDL."
"I have reviewed the verified complaint, answer, various affidavits and memoranda, as well as the supporting documents. Counsel for the parties have had an opportunity to present oral arguments. The crux of this dispute is the plaintiffs' assertion that GDL has failed to comply with the minimum bid specifications of the RFP including; (l) the premises does not contain a minimum of two spaces of handicap parking; (2) the premises does not contain a minimum of 20 spaces of adequate parking; (3) the premises is not in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act and (4) the premises was not ready for complete and immediate occupancy July 1,2012."
See ruling below.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Berkshire Superior Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction preventing the city of Pittsfield from going forward with plans to relocate the Adult Learning Center to 141 North St., pending a final decision expected later this week on the legality of its lease contract for the new location.
Judge John A. Agostini Jr. issued the preliminary order Friday in response to an injunction filed by the center's previous Lyman Street landlord Philip Massery, alleging that the city's new lease agreement with G.D.L. Associates violates requirements of General Law Chapter 30B, which details public bidding procedures.
The injunction alleges that the bid from G.D.L. Associates fails to meet the minimum requirements of the bid request from the Adult Learning Center in several areas, including parking, handicapped accessibility, and the complete preparation of the space by July 1, 2012.
"We alleged a number of violations with respect to Chapter 30B, basically that the bid from G.D.L. was not responsive to the bid specifications," said attorney Michael D. Hashim, representing Philip and James Massery.
The move from its Lyman Street location to a primarily retail area of North Street proved controversial when it went before the City Council last month, with several councilors citing concerns about its impact on retail revitalization in that part of downtown, as well as issues with parking and other aspects of the proposed space.
Lower rental costs to the city's School Department totaling about $21,000, however, lead the council to approve the new contract by a 7-4 vote. The contract is listed in the meeting agenda here.
A call to City Solicitor Kathleen Degnan on Tuesday afternoon for comment on the case had not been returned at the time of this report, but the city's contract states that it "followed the proposing procedures of M.G.L. c 30B" in selecting the 141 North St. space over a bid from Massery for a new lease at the Lyman Street location.
According to documents submitted to the city by the School Department with the lease contract, the space offered by G.D.L. Associates met all its stated needs and received higher evaluations on its rating scale, mainly because of more natural light and greater proximity to public transportation.
Massery's complaint alleges that the space offered in G.D.L.'s bid currently does not meet the educational center's minimum requirements and criteria put forth in its request for proposals.
According to Agostini's preliminary order issued Friday: "The Contract that has been entered into between the City of Pittsfield and G.D.L. Associates for the Acquisition of Lease Space for the Adult Learning Center is void as it was entered into by the parties in violation of the requirements of G.L.C. 30B."
The order prohibits the city from implementing any part of its contract with G.D.L. Associates until further order from the court.
A final memorandum expressing Agostini's decision is expected later this week.
Memo of Decision: Adult Learning Center