10/7/93 XXXX(b)(6) Falmouth, Maine XXXX RE: Complaint Number XX (formerly) XXX (B)(6) Dear XX This letter constitutes our Letter of Findings in response to your complaint filed with our office against the Town of Falmouth, Maine (Town) under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Title II of the ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in the services, programs, and activities of a State or local government. In your complaint you allege that the programs, services, and activities provided by the Town in the Falmouth Town Hall (Town Hall) are not accessible to individuals with mobility impairments. Specifically, you allege that the hearing rooms in which programs, such as hearings, on general assistance and tax matters, are held are located on the second floor of the Town Hall and that the second floor is not accessible to individuals with disabilities. You further allege that the Town has not taken steps to appropriately relocate the programs or to otherwise make them accessible to individuals with disabilities. In addition, you allege that the accessible parking that is provided at the Town Hall by the Town fails to meet the requirements of the ADA because there are not enough accessible spaces provided and the accessible spaces are incorrectly marked. In conducting our investigation we relied on information that you provided to us, as well as information provided to us by the Town and by the Maine Human Rights Commission, with whom you have filed a similar complaint. Section 35.150(a) of the Department of Justice's title II implementing regulation requires that a public entity operate each of its programs so that, when viewed in its entirety, the program is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with

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-2disabilities. Section 35.150(b) lists a number of the methods that a public entity may use to make its programs accessible. These methods include reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, and alteration of existing facilities. Structural changes in existing facilities generally are required only when there is no other feasible way to make the program accessible. The Town acknowledges that the second floor of the Town Hall can be reached only by ascending a flight of stairs and that the second floor is inaccessible to some people with disabilities. In July of 1992 the Town received a final report from an architectural firm entitled "Accessibility and Expansion Study for the Falmouth Town Hall." The Town has since made the changes to the first floor and building entrance that were recommended for accessibility to those areas, and our information shows that the first floor is now fully accessible. Other recommendations for providing access to the second floor will be implemented and are scheduled to be completed in 1994. Until there is an accessible route to the second floor, when people with disabilities need to access a program, service, or activity on the second floor, the Town will relocate it to the first floor. This has been done in the past when you have requested it, specifically with respect to tax abatement hearings, and when other citizens have requested it. Our information shows that this accommodation was made in an appropriate manner. Although the Town Council Chamber, the area to which hearings usually are relocated, was not available for one of your hearings, alternative space on the first floor was used. That space did not provide the amenities of the Council Chamber, but you were provided with access to a hearing, nonetheless.

You submitted photographs of parking spaces that were designated as accessible spaces at the Town Hall. The access aisle in those pictures was located at the wrong end of the ramp. Since you submitted those photographs to us, the Town has repainted the striping at the accessible spaces to provide the correct route of access. You also wrote that the Town did not provide enough accessible parking spaces at the Town Hall. The information that we received from the Maine Human Rights Commission shows that the number of accessible parking spaces at the Town Hall complies with the requirements of title II of the ADA. We find that the Town has taken appropriate steps to provide access to its programs, services, and activities, including relocating them to space that it has made accessible and 01-02672 -3providing appropriate parking. Therefore, we have determined that no violation of title II occurred. This letter contains our determination with respect to your allegations of discrimination in your administrative complaint. If you are dissatisfied with our determination, you may file a complaint presenting your allegations of discrimination in an appropriate United States District court under title II of the ADA. You should be aware that no one may intimidate, threaten, or coerce anyone or engage in other discriminatory conduct against anyone because he or she either has taken action or participated in an action to secure rights protected by the ADA. Any individual alleging such harassment or intimidation may file a complaint with the Department of Justice. We would investigate such a complaint if the situation warrants. Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 522, we may be required to release this letter and other correspondence and records related to the complaint in response to a request from a third party. Should we receive such a request, we will safeguard, to the extent permitted by law, release of information that could constitute an unwarranted invasion of your or other's

privacy. If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Merle Morrow at (202) 514-3571. Sincerely,

Stewart B. Oneglia Chief Coordination and Review Section Civil Rights Division cc: Ms. Barbara L. Krause, Attorney Town of Falmouth, Maine 01-02673