Disability News – Town of Lewisboro Signs Agreement with US to Ensure Civic Access for Those With Disabilities

LawFuel.com –
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, and THOMAS E. PEREZ, the Assistant
Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the United
States Department of Justice, announced today that the United
States has entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (the
“Agreement”) with the Town of Lewisboro, New York (“Lewisboro”),
to improve access to all aspects of civic life in Lewisboro for
persons with disabilities, thus concluding an investigation into
Lewisboro’s compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act
(the “ADA”). The investigation began with a Complaint filed by a
resident of Lewisboro that civic facilities did not comply with
the ADA.

The Agreement was reached under “Project Civic Access,”
a Department of Justice initiative to bring state and local
governments into compliance with the ADA. Project Civic Access
was initiated in the 1990s to ensure that people with
disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic
life. As part of the project, investigators, attorneys, and
architects at the Department of Justice surveyed state and local
government facilities and programs in various locations
throughout the country to identify modifications to programs and
facilities necessary to comply with ADA requirements. Depending
on the circumstances in each community, the agreements address
specific areas where access can be improved.
Lewisboro is located in Westchester County in New York.
It has approximately 18,000 residents and offers a variety of
public services, including a library and numerous parks and
recreational facilities. Under the Agreement, Lewisboro will:
• Make physical modifications to the Onatru Farmhouse, a
building that houses many of Lewisboro’s offices, so
that parking, routes into the building, entrance,
restrooms, service counters and offices on the second
floor of the building are accessible to people with
• Prepare and implement a plan for making physical
modifications to, or providing alternative means for
delivering services at, Lewisboro’s other public
buildings and facilities so that the programs or
services offered at those buildings and facilities are
accessible to people with disabilities;
• Adopt a policy for handling grievances regarding
Lewisboro’s compliance with the ADA;
• Appoint ADA Coordinators to assist people with
disabilities in accessing programs and services
offered by Lewisboro and handle grievances regarding
ADA compliance;
• Modify its personnel policies to ensure that Lewisboro
will not discriminate against employees or prospective
employees on the basis of disability and will offer
reasonable accommodation to employees or prospective
employees with disabilities;
• Adopt policies or procedures to ensure that
Lewisboro’s police department communicates effectively
with people who are deaf or hard of hearing;
• Ensure that Lewisboro’s communication practices,
including its official Web site, is accessible to
persons with disabilities, including individuals who
are blind or have low vision;
• Ensure equal access to all aspects of the county’s
emergency management programs for persons with
disabilities, including emergency preparation,
notification, evacuation, sheltering, response, and
recovery; and
• Conduct a self-evaluation of all its programs and
services to ensure that such programs and services are
accessible to people with disabilities.

The Agreement was reached pursuant to Title II of the
ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with
disabilities by state and local governments. The Agreement will
remain in effect for three years or until the parties agree that
all actions required by the Agreement have been completed,
whichever is later.

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, said: “State and local governments
must guarantee that their programs and services are equally
accessible and comply with federal law. We are pleased that
Lewisboro has recognized this need for their town and is working
to ensure equal access to all of its residents and visitors with

THOMAS E. PEREZ, Assistant Attorney General for the
Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said: “Project Civic
Access is more about than just the ADA compliance, it is about
ensuring that individuals with disabilities can expect the same
access to civic programs, services, and facilities as everyone
else. I commend city officials for making this commitment to
provide equal access to city programs, activities, and services
for all its residents.”

Assistant United States Attorney LI YU is supervising
the case. Those interested in finding out more about the ADA or
the Department of Justice’s Project Civic Access initiative can
access the ADA home page at http://www.ada.gov, or call the tollfree
ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383
09-429 ###

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