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ADA/Legal Advice

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    ADA/Legal Advice

    Hi everyone. I'm trying to get some perspective on an accessibility issue we are having with a home that we bought a year ago. Its a ranch with typically 1 step to get into the house. My wife and myself have completed some landscaping that put in a new deck off the back of our house off the kitchen with a ramp that exits the side of the house. I can now exit the house from the kitchen, roll across the deck and take the ramp to our side yard by the driveway. I also have ramp access through the garage so my exits are in the backside of the house. The only way for me to get to one of these ramps is through the kitchen. If we had a fire in the kitchen I would not have easy access out of the house. Right now I would have to go through the front door which has a big step down that we will take care of next year. My wife and myself would like for me to have access out of all of our entries also.

    We have a family room with a sliding glass door that is on the same side of the house as the kitchen and the new deck. We submitted a design to our Village for a small "deck" that would connect the area off of the family room to the newly built deck/ramp (maybe 10 feet away) giving me another way to get out of the house. We told the village that this would provide an emergency exit for me in case there was an issue in the kitchen. The area we want to build on is an "easement" which cannot typically be built on. We applied for a variance and the Village denied our request saying that it looked like we were trying to build a deck on the easement (right now there is a retaining wall in the easement). The village did say they would support us building a ramp off of the family room (on the easement) that went in the opposite direction of where the new deck/ramp is. Based on the grade of the slope on that end of the house this ramp would have to be about 40 feet long significantly increasing the cost and to be honest would not look attractive. It seems like we have a pretty cost effective and attractive solution that they have denied.

    My questions/request for advice:
    1) What do you think? Is the village being reasonable?
    2) Any good resources where I can determine what my rights are or get some advice? Specific links to the ADA/other that can answer this specific question.
    3) Opinions on if its worth pursuing from a legal standpoint

    The interesting thing is that we live on a corner lot and had to apply for a variance to build the ramp off of the new deck in the side yard and the village approved that. The ramp is actually pretty cool. We put a small waterfall next to it that empties into a pond and has a creekbed that runs under ramp. We have gotten so many comments from the neighbors about our landscaping that say they love our "bridge".

    Thanks. Its a bit complicated so I hope I was clear in my description.

    Last edited by steveg; 3 Oct 2005, 4:25 PM.

    Hi Steve.
    You might already be aware of this info from R.I.C., but I'l link it just in case.

    > Finance & Law

    Law - ADA
    Law - Legal Assistance
    >see: Center for Disability and Elder Law

    Center for Disability and Elder Law
    Reviewed August 2004
    This legal clinic provides free legal assistance to persons who have disabilities and the elderly. It provides assistance in the following areas: ADA, Titles I, II, and III, special education and early intervention; real estate, primarily foreclosures; landlord-tenant; bankruptcy and collections; Social Security and other benefits; insurance; guardianship and consumer fraud.

    Call for an appointment.

    Address: 710 N. Lake Shore Drive 3rd Floor. Chicago, IL 60611
    Direct: (312) 908-4463
    Fax: 312-908-0866
    TTY: 312-908-8705

    There are many other links related to legal issues on these pages. Hope you find answers you need.



      Thanks for the links and great sources of information. I actually did some volunteer work at Legal Clinic for the Disabled at RIC when I went back to B-School. I'll check these out. Just trying to figure out if we have some legit concerns right now.