Re: Common House costs
From: Ted Parker (
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 11:56:26 -0700 (MST)
And remember as well that avoiding the code enforcement authorities
does not absolve you of civil liability for failure to comply with
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  If a resident - or even a
guest - with accessibility needs was unable to use all parts of your 
common house, they could sue you for failure to comply.  It has been 
repeatedly affirmed by the courts that the 'building inspector said 
it was o.k.' excuse is not a legal defense.

cynthia.e.carpenter [at] wrote:
> In Jasmine's message (attached below), it sounds like you are suggesting
> labeling public spaces as private to get around putting in an elevator, which 
> is
> typically required to ensure access for disabled individuals, and you don't
> mention the inclusion of any alternatives, such as a ramp.
> I know that the cost of an elevator seems prohibitive to many struggling
> cohousing groups, but please think long and hard before you build a "common"
> house which isn't accessible to your whole community and their guests.  If you
> don't have anyone in your current group who is in a wheelchair or otherwise
> disabled, it's easy to think that the expense isn't worth it.  
> >>>>>
> I was recently looking at the blueprints for the E-Z Cohousing group in
> Pleasant Hill, California. I saw lots of things labelled as home
> offices. When I asked about them, I was told that these were the
> children's rooms, craft rooms, etc. They were labelled this way to avoid
> many code issues including having an elevator. They are using the Jim
> Leach/Wunderland streamlined model with The Cohousing Company. I don't
> have any more details, but this might be something to look into in other
> areas as well.
> --Jasmine Gold, PERCH (San Franciso Peninsula Region Cohousing)

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