Local official surprised by Attorney General’s suit against modular developer

Michael Delaney New Hampshire's Attorney General -credit DOJ-NH-GOVLaconiaDailySun reports on ‘surprise’ legal action by New Hampshire’s Attorney General Michael Delaney’s Office. In a follow up to the story covered earlier this week in MHProNews.com, Shanna Saunders said the city code enforcement office had been working with the developer and home owners to resolve some complains, but never expected the NH AG’s office to file suit. “I knew people were coming to the office and looking at their files,” Saunders said. Saunders explained the Villa at Paugus Woods was originally approved by the city planning board in 2006 as a cluster subdivision for a U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) Code single-family manufactured homes. “I think when this was approved these had HUD stamped on it,” she said, noting that manufactured housing are built to federal HUD Code standards for manufactured housing and doesn’t required local inspections except for site work, like roads, drainage and the sewer systems and hookups to services like electricity, water and sewage. At some point, the project apparently changed from HUD Code manufactured housing to modular home construction. Former city contract code enforcement officer Jim Van Valkenburgh explained modular home ares engineered and built in factories and the design engineers and subcontractors are the ones responsible for design defects. “Each modular house also has a manufacturer’s sticker number with an identification number on the outside,” he said. “This means it was acceptable to our department of safety,” Van Valkenburgh said. He said that as the contracted code enforcement officer, all inspections were made as mandated by Laconia’s adopted International Residential Code of 2006, so he disagrees with the allegations in Delaney’s lawsuit that says life-safety issues are compromised. “I would not sign a certificate of occupancy without it meeting the minimum code standards of the residential building code,” he wrote. Brady Sullivan with the Villa at Paugus Woods development stated that he had cooperated with officials and that they would be vindicated.

(Photo credit: NH-DOJ)


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