You are on page 1of 2

# 198 August 5, 1996 The Honorable Steven C. LaTourette Member, U.S.

House of Representatives 1 Victoria Place, Room 320 Painesville, Ohio 44077 Dear Congressman LaTourette: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXXXXXXXXX, concerning the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) applicable to the Pine Ridge Country Club. We apologize for the delay in our response. Under title III of the ADA, an entity that owns, operates, leases, or leases to a place of public accommodation, must ensure that ADA standards are met in all of its activities, alterations and new construction. There are 12 categories of places of public accommodation, including places of recreation and exercise. If the Pine Ridge Country Club is covered by title III, it must, among other things, reasonably modify its policies to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability. If it occupies a facility that was existing on the effective date of the ADA, it must remove barriers to access in the facility to the extent it is readily achievable to do so. The enclosed regulation implementing title III sets out the requirements in greater detail. Even if the Pine Ridge Country Club would otherwise fit into one of the categories of places of public accommodation, it will be exempt from title III's coverage if it is a private club. Whether a particular facility is a private club is a case-by-case determination, based on a variety of factors that have been recognized by courts. We cannot make a particular determination of whether the Pine Ridge Country Club constitutes a private club, but some of the factors to be considered in such a determination are the following: (1) whether the club is highly selective in choosing members; (2) whether the club membership exercises a high degree of control over the establishment's operations; (3) whether the organization has historically been

intended to be a private club; (4) the degree to which the establishment is opened up to non-members; (5) the purpose of the club's existence; (6) the breadth of the club's advertising for members; (7) whether the club is non-profit; (8) the degree to which the club observes formalities; (9) whether substantial membership fees are charged; (10) the degree to which the club receives public funding; and (11) whether the club was created or is being used to avoid compliance with a civil rights act. Nonetheless, private clubs are still covered by title III to the extent that they open up their establishments to the general public for a purpose that falls within one of the categories of places of public accommodation. Thus, if the Club hosts events that are open to persons other than the members and their guests, the Club must make the public areas accessible during those events. The more often such public events occur, the higher the obligation to make the publicly used areas accessible. If XXXXXXXXX believes that the Pine Ridge Country Club is a place of public accommodation and not a private club, she may file her complaint with the Department of Justice. Enclosed please find information about how to file a title III complaint. I hope this information will be of assistance in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures