Dueling repair plans filed for Charlemont Inn

  • Charlemont Inn. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz PAUL FRANZ

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/31/2016 11:36:44 PM

GREENFIELD — The Charlemont Inn has had another day in Housing Court, in which the Board of Health and building owner Charlotte Dewey each filed plans for repairs that would bring the historic inn into compliance with state sanitary code and enable business operations within it.

Now it’s up to Judge Rebekah J. Crampton Kamukala to review each set of plans and decide whether to let Dewey and her associates move forward with a multi-phase restoration plan, or to appoint a receiver to invest the money needed to bring the building back up to code.

The Board of Health asked the court to put the historic inn into receivership to ensure that costly repairs are made quickly to this inn, which had been in business from the late 1700s until about five years ago.

Charlemont Inn owners Dewey and Linda Shimandle are fighting to keep the inn, but have limited funds.

Because of financial restraints, Dewey’s renovation plan is a phased-in renovation, with the goal of fixing the kitchen and waterproofing the basement this year. The estimate given for first phase of repairs is $91,000.

“My client is not a wealthy person,” said Mark Tanner, the inn owners’ lawyer. “She has limited resources to repair this property. … What we’re proposing is to have a catering kitchen open by the end of November.”

To do this, he said, heat, electricity and plumbing would be restored to the kitchen, so that it has running water and a staff bathroom. Waterproofing work would be done in the basement, where there is a partial earthern floor.

The plan includes roof work, to control any leaking, and renewing the well permit, to guarantee a water supply.

Tanner said the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has approved the reactivation of the inn’s public water supply and “it is now an active water supply.”

The rest of the building is to be blocked off and inaccessible to the public until it can be restored in subsequent renovation phases.

Dewey and Shimandle say they have raised about $5,000 toward renovations and are prepared to tap their retirement plans for cash if they must for the building repairs.

Tanner said they are hoping to be able to reopen the dining room early next year, to serve food.

Jeffrey Blake, representing the Charlemont Board of Health, said the proposed receiver, building contractor Bob Obear, is prepared to spend between $250,000 to $300,000 to fix problems throughout the building. Blake called Dewey’s plan “a Band-Aid in a little area.”

“We wanted to stop the damage to the whole building,” he said, adding that the board doesn’t want to come back to court a few years from now if the work isn’t done.

Blake said Obear would like to start getting permits for the work around Nov. 15 and start the work as quickly as possible.

If the judge sides with the current owners, Blake said he hopes she would issue very precise orders “with hard deadlines. Because, if those deadlines aren’t met, we know we can come back.”

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