T 2-7-94 DJ 202-PL-133 FEB 10 1994

Mr. Marc N. Katz Manager, Congressional Affairs National Association of Convenience Stores 1605 King Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2792 Dear Mr. Katz: This letter is in response to your request for guidance on the requirements for barrier removal applicable under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA accessibility standards. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the application of the statute and it is not binding on the Department. In existing facilities that are not otherwise being altered, a public accommodation is required to remove architectural barriers to the extent that it is readily achievable, i.e., easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. Measures taken to remove barriers should comply with the Standards for Accessible Design (Standards). contained in the appendix to the Department's rule. (Barrier removal in existing facilities does not, however, trigger the accessible path of travel requirement.) Deviations from the Standards are acceptable only when full compliance with those requirements is not readily achievable. In such cases, barrier removal measures may be taken that do not fully comply with the Standards, so long as the measures do not pose a significant risk to the health or safety of individuals with disabilities or others. For example, in the situation described in your letter, if widening a continuous aisle to 32 inches is readily achievable,

such widening would be required. However, if this change would require the removal of shelves and result in a significant loss cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Lusher, FOIA n:\udd\mercado\policy\katz.rhl 01-02915

-2of selling space, the change would not be considered readily achievable (see 36.304(f) of the Department's regulations for title III at 28 CFR Part 36). If in a convenience store it is not readily achievable to widen all the aisles, it may be appropriate to widen the most frequently used aisle to 36 inches and to widen the other auxiliary aisles to widths below 36 inches. The requirements for barrier removal are not to be interpreted to exceed the title III rule's alteration standards. For elements not specifically covered under the alteration standards, the requirements for barrier removal are not to be interpreted to exceed the requirements for new construction (see 36.304(g)(1) and (2) of 28 CFR Part 36). The Standards specifically refrain from applying the requirements for accessible reach ranges to fixed shelves or display units ( 4.1.3(12)). Therefore, convenience stores are not required to adjust the height of existing shelves or display units. They are, however, required by title III to provide assistance to patrons who use wheelchairs or others who, because of a disability, cannot independently retrieve items from store shelves. For your information I am enclosing a copy of the Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual. Readily achievable barrier removal is specifically addressed on pages 29 through 35. However, further information on the differences between readily achievable barrier removal and other provisions, such as requirements for new construction and alterations, are discussed throughout the text.

I hope that the above information is helpful to you and the members of the National Association of Convenience Stores. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section Enclosure