T. 6/24/92 SBO:SK:KGF DJ # 192-180-04495 JUN 28 1992 The Honorable Richard G.

Lugar United States Senate 306 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-1401 ATTN: Ms. Ellen Whitt Dear Senator Lugar: This responds to your letter requesting information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to respond to the Crown Point City Council's inquiry about the applicability of certain ADA provisions to Council activity. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in responding to the City Council. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of their rights or responsibilities under the ADA and does not constitute a binding determination by the Department of Justice. Title II of the ADA, which covers State and local government, establishes strict accessibility requirements for new construction and alterations. See S 35.151 of the enclosed title II regulation. However, in existing buildings, State and local governments are not required to make physical changes to facilities if the programs offered in the facilities can be made accessible by other means. 28 C.F.R. 36.150. Those other means may include relocating a meeting to another location or providing services in alternate accessible sites. 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.150(b). In many cases, however, providing access to facilities through structural changes may be the most efficient method of providing program accessibility. (See enclosed Department of Justice Title II Technical Assistance Manual, at SII-5.2000.) Public entities must make their programs accessible in all cases, except where doing so would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or in undue financial and administrative burdens. 28 C.F.R. 35.150(a).

:udd:kaltenborn:lugar.6.19 cc: CRS, Records, FOIA, Friedlander 3, Kaltenborn, McDowney, Breen 01-00975

-2The City Council has inquired about whether a "chair lift" may be installed to provide program access, and whether, if so, meetings may be moved while it is being installed. Changes made to comply with the program accessibility requirement must be done in compliance with either the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards or the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. 28 C.F.R. S 35.150(b)(1). Both of those standards permit the use of a platform lift (or wheelchair lift), if it complies with the specified requirements. See S 4.1.2(5) of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards; S 4.1.6(3)(g) of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Relocating a meeting to an accessible location would be acceptable as an interim measure while structural changes, such as installing a platform lift, are being made. Such changes may be made over a three year period from January 26, 1992, pursuant to a transition plan that sets out the necessary steps to complete the changes. 28 C.F.R. S 35.150(d). To respond to another question raised in your inquiry, a public entity must ensure that its communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. The Technical Assistance Manual offers the following illustration: "A deaf individual does not receive an equal opportunity to benefit from attending a city council meeting if he or she does not have access to what is said." Manual at 9. The Manual contains a discussion at pages 35-37 of the requirements for provision of auxiliary aids to ensure effective communications with individuals who have speech, vision, or hearing impairments. I hope this information is useful to you in responding to the Crown Point City Council. Sincerely,

John R. Dunne Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures (2) 01-00976

REPUBLICAN

STEVEN J. BAZIN COUNCILMAN AT LARGE

241 EAST GREENWOOD - CROWN POINT, INDIANA 46307 - (219) 6634130 February 26, 1992 Senator Richard G. Lugar U. S. Senate-Indiana 306 Hart Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Senator Lugar: We represent the City of Crown Point, Indiana, both as a City Councilman at Large and as the Republican City Chairman. Since the compliance date of January 26, 1992 of the American Disabilities Act, there has been great confusion in our city. Too many legal opinions and no substantive answers. Therefore, respectfully, we call upon you and your resources to please expedite all avenues to advise us about the legalities of ADA. We, above all, want to be in harmony with ADA and, in turn, we want to best serve the needs of all our citizens, including our disabled ones. Yet, we pose a question of

"reasonable accomodation". First, we would like to share some relevant information: The City Council Chambers are on the second floor of our two story City Hall. The second story is presently accessible only by stairs. Therefore would the only way for the council chambers to be in compliance dictate a structural change be made? It is our understanding that when a structural change is required to make a facility accessible that a "grace period" is allowed:--a six month period (from January 26, 1992) to develop a transition plan and a three year period (from January 26, 1992) in which to make the necessary changes. Therefore, must the council chambers be abandoned now and remain so until the building is retrofitted. Or would "reasonable accomodation" (504, 35, 150) apply until, at least, a chair lift is installed. During that brief and temporary period, could we use the second story council chambers to hold regular committee and council meetings without the risk of the government entity facing a grievance and/or frivolous lawsuit. 01-00977

REPUBLICAN

STEVEN J. BAZIN COUNCILMAN AT LARGE

241 EAST GREENWOOD * CROWN POINT, INDIANA 46307 * (219) 6634130 The old policy was to move the council meetings to an accessible building when given 48 hours prior notice. Could we continue to do this while a plan is being developed and necessary changes are being made? We have heard two completely opposing opinions on this from legal "experts". Is there a definitive answer? The current administration has now temporarily moved Council meetings to a School Corporation build-

ing. This building has not accomodated our large overflowing crowds. Citizens must stand in the hallway away from the meeting room. Violations of the fire code are apparent with the large crowds. Parking for the disabled citizen is not available and/or reserved. To us, these accomodations are not acceptable to ALL of our citizens. We have a question pertaining to the wording of elevator exemption. Can this two story City Hall be retrofitted with a chair lift to bring it up to compliance? Or do two story municipal buildings need to have an elevator. Furthermore, does compliance and discrimination against the disabled impose more urgency on the environment/work place and, in turn, swifter adherence to the 504.35.150 section of the Act than a Council meeting held once a month in a two story building? To ask the question another way, are we, the City Council of Crown Point, unprotected under 504.35.150 from a $50,000.00 law suit even if we've already filed a letter of intent with the proper authorities to be in compliance within the time parameter defined under 9.6 Existing Facilities-504.35.150 and Section 35.151 New Construction and Alterations (c) Time Period for Compliance. 01-00978 REPUBLICAN STEVEN J. BAZIN COUNCILMAN AT LARGE

241 EAST GREENWOOD * CROWN POINT, INDIANA 46307 * (219) 6634130 We think "reasonable accomodations" should apply to our case, especially since no alternative meeting place has met the needs of space, parking and fire code. Also, much of the discussion in Crown Point has been limited to people who are in wheel chairs or have a handicap that in some way restricts ones mobility.

Are we being remiss in not also dealing with the hearing and seeing impaired? Should the City be looking to use signers at Council meetings? Should posted agendas, as required by State Statute, also be printed in Braille? Anything that your office could do to help us determine proper legal couse and compliance with the Am erican Disabilities Act would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Steven J. Bazin, Michael Conquest, Councilman at Large, Chairman, Crown Point, Indiana Crown Point Republican Central Committee 01-00979