CA: Selectmen discuss resolving accessibility compliance shortfalls

Above: A consultant for the Town explained that ADA compliance violations include issues with sidewalk obstructions around town. (images cropped from report)

Last month, I shared the Town’s information on its ADA Compliance Self Evaluation study. Since then, selectmen publicly reviewed the document with the Town’s consultant. The Community Advocated covered the discussion.

According to the article, selectmen and consultant James M. Mazik discussed the Town’s ADA (American Disabilities Act) non-compliance issues:

Mazik said that any construction solutions need to be designed by a qualified engineering and architectural professional. He outlined for the board how the projects could be broken down in terms, with immediate projects taking place this year and next year. Near-term projects would be completed between 2023 and 2026 while long-term ones would be completed between 2027 and 2030.

He said the town has to demonstrate a “good faith effort” that it is addressing the areas of non-compliance and “showing movement” on the plan.

In addition, Mazik said that not all solutions are “cost-based,” involving making infrastructure changes. For example, a program being offered on the second floor of a building could be moved to the first level so that people with disabilities would have access.

It is crucial to provide “reasonable accommodation and an honest effort,” he said.

The consultant spoke of issues including sidewalk and curb ramp obstruction, deteriorated walkways or walkways with overgrowth causing a barrier, shortcomings in bathrooms and facilities like stall doors that don’t close and counters that are too high, lack of adequate signage and parking widths, protruding objects that pose a danger and the need to provide accessible routes to buildings and playgrounds with a firm surface that is stable and slip-resistant.

Mazik emphasized that the town could start out by getting some of the easier, less expensive fixes out of the way.

Other areas in the report highlighted how to, among other things, write job descriptions that are not discriminatory, to make provisions for emergency preparedness and notification and ensure that all polling places are accessible and provide privacy.

“It’s a big deal and thank all of you folks for putting it on our radar,” said Selectman Martin Healey. He noted that he is not deterred that a price tag may be in the range of $750,000.

Over the years, he said, the town has spent that amount of money “on things that aren’t as valuable as this.”

You can read more in the full article here.

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