Re: RE: Washer/Dryer in Common House/Units (fwd)
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 15:51:01 -0700 (MST)
"Laura Fitch, A.I.A." <lfitch [at]>
is the author of the message below. 
It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]> 
(the vcard problem again)
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As architect for Pathways, I want to clarify a few things.  When asked
by me, the Massachusetts Access Board specifically interpretted their
code as follows:  Pathways could have "inaccessible" basement laundry as
long as all your units were "for sale" NOT rental.  In fact, they
overruled the Northampton Building Inspector who said you couldn't have
basement laundry without a lift. 

The Massachusetts Access Board also made it very clear that any basement
use that brought friends, renters (i.e The Public) into the basement
would trigger the lift requirement.  At the time of construction, this
type of use was intentionally avoided, as a lift was out of your budget.

That being said, it is much preferable to have the laundry accessibly,
and absolutely required in Massachusetts as soon as you have a rental
unit in the mix.

ADA is not enforced by the Building Inspector.  It is a civil rights
bill that allows individuals to sue if they do not believe that you
provide sufficient access.  It has less teeth than the Mass.
Architectural Access Code (which IS enforced by Inspector).

And a correction:  As far as I know EVERY Massachusetts cohousing
community has a common house that is built to the public building
standards.  They are inspected yearly, and repairs to sprinklers, fire
alarms, exit signs, etc. are dilligently made.  The Northampton Building
Inspector is probably no more strict that others.


Berrins [at] wrote:
> In a message dated 12/18/01 10:57:23 PM, tamgoddess [at] writes:
> << I'm curious. Do all of you with laundry in the basement have elevators or a
> walk-in basement? If it's not accessible, you're not ADA compliant. >>
> No elevator or walk-in access; in this regard we are not ADA compliant.
> However, our city building inspector, noted for being relatively strict (he
> was the one who required us to build to public building standards, when other
> Common Houses in Mass. are not) allowed us to do this.  Laundry was not
> considered a public use issue.
> We did build the CH with framing and a space to put in a lift to the basement
> sometime in the future.  We will need a lift to do any other activity there
> that is not being done on the main floor.
> Roger
> Pathways Cohousing
> Northampton, MA
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