Re: Americans with Disabilities Act - Title III
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 04:28:28 -0700 (PDT)
Not convinced that being a "private organization" gets you off the ADA hook.  A 
car dealership is also a "private organization", but is nonetheless expected to 
provide bathrooms that work for mobility-impaired people — even the ones who 
can't drive.  If you host a block party or a wedding, will you warn the 
mobility-impaired* that your accommodations for them are poor?

Many states, in fact, have rules for multi-family developments that require a 
small percentage of units to be designed for wheelchair accessibility.  If your 
community sells such a unit to a mobility-impaired person, and that person 
starts to wonder why s/he has no access to the community swimming pool s/he 
helped pay for, then you may be open to litigation.  Or at least bargaining.

So keep checking this out.  In your jurisdiction, there may be special 
exemptions for residential pools that are entirely divorced from the "private 
organization" thing.  Apart from that, is your coho really satisfied that some 
of its amenities are not available to disabled members?  Or unsuited for 
occupancy by the disabled (which will probably include some of you, when you 
get old).

R Philip Dowds AIA
Cornerstone Cohousing, Cambridge ... which was indeed designed for 
accessibility.  (But sorry, no pool.)

 * PS: When we think of ADA and "handicaps", a picture of a wheelchair leaps 
front and center into our minds.  However, deafness and blindness are also 
serious disabilities, and also covered by ADA.  Keep in mind that accessibility 
is not systematically inspected or enforced by many localities — in which case, 
enforcement occurs in response to complaint.

On Jul 23, 2012, at 10:40 PM, Norman Gauss wrote:

> Has any cohousing group with a pool or spa been confronted with the
> necessity of installing special hydraulic lifts for the disabled?
> We have learned that HOA's, being private organizations, do not maintain
> public accommodations unless they rent out privileges to outside groups.
> The bottom line is that, in my understanding, HOA's are exempt from having
> to install additional equipment in pools or spas.
> Has any cohousing group examined the new requirements of the ADA and made
> any decisions one way or another?
> Norm Gauss
> Oak Creek Commons
> Paso Robles, CA
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