# 191

II-3.3000 II-5.1000

April 16, 1996

The Honorable Mitch McConnell United States Senator 601 West Broadway Room 630 Louisville, Kentucky 40202 Dear Senator McConnell: I am responding to your recent letter on behalf of your constituent, Mr. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, Florence, Kentucky. Mr. XXXXXX filed a complaint with the Department of Justice alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by the City of Florence for failure to pass an ordinance requiring the removal of snow from sidewalks by property owners. As we explained in response to Mr. XXXXXXXX call to the Department's ADA technical assistance information line, under title II of the ADA, State and local governments are required to ensure that their programs, services, and activities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. To the extent that accessible sidewalks are required to be provided in order to satisfy that obligation, those required sidewalks must be maintained in operable condition. Temporary interruptions in accessibility, such as those caused by snow, generally do not constitute violations of title II, however, unless they persist beyond a reasonable period of time. Notably, only those sidewalks that are required by the ADA to be accessible and that are within the control of the city will be required to be maintained by the city. To the extent that a public entity provides snow removal

services, title II requires those services to be provided in a non-discriminatory manner. However, sidewalk snow removal by private property owners is private action not covered by the title II absent some substantial involvement by the public entity. The ADA, therefore, does not generally require local governments to pass ordinances compelling property owners to remove snow from sidewalks. To the extent that sidewalks lead to places of public accommodation covered by title III of the ADA, however, the private owners of such places of public accommodation may have obligations to maintain them under title III. If a sidewalk is required to be accessible under title III and if the abutting place of public accommodation exercises control over the sidewalk, the place of public accommodation may be required to maintain the sidewalk in operable condition. As under title II, temporary interruptions because of snow are permissible under title III unless they persist beyond a reasonable period of time. Enclosed are copies of our Department's ADA Title II and Title III Technical Assistance Manuals, which may further assist Mr. XXXXXX in understanding the obligations of entities covered by the ADA. I hope this information is useful in responding to your constituent's inquiry. Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures