The architects and owners of apartment buildings in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut have been unable to build units and facilities accessible to people with disabilities, the federal government said on Friday.
J. Randolph Parry Architects, PC and eight owners of 15 apartment buildings designed by the architectural firm are in violation of both the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the Justice Department.
“[T]There is no excuse here for owners and architects to continue developing properties that do not meet the accessibility requirements of these laws, ”said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “This blatant disregard for federal law must stop and stop now.”
The lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania federal court alleges that at least 15 senior citizen apartment buildings have “significant barriers to entry, including inaccessible pedestrian routes to building entrances, inaccessible pedestrian routes from residential units to facilities, inaccessible parking lots, and doorways that are too narrow for a person using a wheelchair. Environmental controls too high or too low to be reached by a person using a wheelchair and inaccessible bathrooms and kitchens. “
It identifies the properties, all designed by J. Randolph Parry Architects, as:
- Alcoeur Gardens, Brick Township, New Jersey;
- Alcoeur Gardens, Toms River, New Jersey;
- Homestead, Hamilton Township, NJ;
- The Rafaella Addition Villa, Pleasantville, NJ;
- Woodbury Mews Colonial Home, Woodbury, NJ;
- Traditions from Hanover, Bethlehem, PA;
- Traditions from Hershey, Palmyra, PA;
- Chestnut Knoll, Boyertown, PA;
- Arbor Square, Harleysville, PA;
- Cedar Views Apartments, Philadelphia, PA;
- The Birches, Newtown, PA;
- The Lifequest Nursing Center Addition, Quakertown, PA;
- Keystone Villa, Douglasville, PA;
- Church Hill Village, Newtown, CT;
- Heritage Green, Mechanicsville, VA.
The lawsuit seeks an order that:
(1) Calls on Defendants to bring properties into compliance with the FHA and ADA;
(2) Requires the defendants to pay monetary damages to those “harmed by inaccessibility” and civil sanctions against the United States in order to “defend the public interest”;
(3) Prohibition of the defendants from designing or building multi-family houses “in a way that discriminates against people with disabilities”.
Federal agencies asked anyone with information about the conditions in the identified properties to call the Justice Department at 1-833-591-0291 and select option numbers (1 4 1): choose one for English, four for apartment accessibility, and one for the USA v. J. Randolph Parry Architects to leave a message or send an email to [email protected].
The FHA prohibits discrimination in homes based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, gender and marital status.
All apartment buildings constructed after March 13, 1991 must have basic accessibility features, including barrier-free access to all units in buildings with elevators.
The ADA meanwhile requires that places of public accommodation such as B. Rental offices in apartment buildings that were designed and built for first occupancy after January 26, 1993 are accessible to people with disabilities.
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