# 133 III-4.

4200 January 6, 1994

The Honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Senate 464 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Senator Moynihan: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, who raises concerns about accessibility problems at a shopping mall, a school facility, and a doctor's office in his community. He also inquires about tax advantages for persons who are blind. With respect to the shopping mall, XXXXXXXXXXX states that the Hudson Valley Mall in Ulster, New York, has heavy doors that are difficult to open. The Mall management has apparently denied requests to install electric doors that would be easier for persons with disabilities to use. Existing facilities of this type have an obligation under title III of the ADA to remove architectural barriers to access where such removal is readily achievable. However, where the ADA Design Standards for new construction specify requirements for a particular element, the barrier removal obligation does not require existing facilities to exceed the Design Standards. The ADA Standards for Accessible Design applicable to new construction do not require electric doors, nor do they set a limit for the maximum door opening force for exterior hinged doors. See the ADA Standards for Accessible Design Section 4.13.11 and 4.13.12, Appendix A to the enclosed title III regulation. Therefore, because the ADA Design Standards specifically do not require the installation of electric doors in new buildings, their installation is not

required under the ADA's barrier removal requirements for existing buildings. XXXXXXXXXXX next complains about a two-story building operated by the public school district. State and local government entities are obligated under title II of the ADA to make all of their programs and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. Although a school district is not necessarily required to make every existing building accessible, it may have to relocate various services or programs if necessary to provide program accessibility. All State and local government buildings constructed after January 26, 1992, must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The elevator exemption for newly constructed small buildings that XXXXXXXXXXX discusses applies only to privately owned buildings, not State and local government facilities. See the enclosed title II regulation at Sections 35.150 and 35.151. If XXXXXXXXXXX wishes to file a complaint under title II against the school district, he should write to the U.S. Department of Education, 330 C St., Rm 5000, S.W., Washington, 20202-1100. He also has the right under title II to file suit in federal court and he may wish to consult an attorney for that purpose. Finally, XXXXXXXXXXX complains about a doctor who has not made his office accessible but advises patients with disabilities that he will see them at the hospital. Existing places of public accommodations, such as doctor's offices, are required to remove architectural barriers to access to the extent such removal is readily achievable. Providing service at a different accessible location is an appropriate alternative to barrier removal, but only if barrier removal is not readily achievable. The determination of whether barrier removal is readily achievable requires inquiry into the specific facts of each case -- the size and resources of the entity involved and the nature and cost of architectural changes required. See the enclosed title III regulation at Sections 26.304 and 36.305. If XXXXXXXXXXX wishes to file a complaint under title III against the doctor, he may write to John L. Wodatch, Chief of the Public Access Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 66738, Washington, D.C. 20035-6738. We are enclosing copies of our title II and title III Technical Assistance Manuals as well as the regulations. If your constituent has further questions concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act, he may call our information line at (202) 514-

0301 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. XXXXXXXXXXXXX inquiry regarding tax advantages for persons with disabilities should be directed to the Internal Revenue Service. I hope this information will assist you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures