Planning Commission rules buildings that don’t pass inspection will be closed

Dover transitional housing organization House of Pride has one month to correct dozens of outstanding building code violations or be forced to close, according to a ruling handed down by the city’s Planning Commission Jan. 18.

The Commission conducted a review of the conditional use permits granted to House of Pride for nine of its properties on New Street, after city inspectors documented numerous health and safety violations in the dwellings.

The inspectors found plumbing and electrical problems, some structural deficiencies and room arrangements that would make it difficult for residents to escape in the event of a fire.

House of Pride, which provides assistance to men participating in and transitioning out of drug rehabilitation programs, uses the buildings it owns to house clients and host counseling sessions.

For the last decade, the organization and the city have sparred over the maintenance of its buildings.

While periodic reviews have precipitated some changes, Director of Planning and Inspections Ann Marie Townshend said House of Pride needs to commit to a permanent maintenance plan.

Townshend and other city staff met with House of Pride personnel before the Commission meeting to discuss the group’s plans.

“We had a very productive and honest discussion. I believe there was very sincere, genuine feeling on their side that they need to make changes,” Townshend said. “It needs to be very clear what’s expected, it needs to be a very tight timeframe.”

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