YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A consultant has been hired to work with the town of Yorktown on creating more handicapped spaces in front of town hall.
The town was sued late last year by Westchester Disabled on the Move, a Yonkers-based non-profit organization that works on behalf of people with disabilities. The organization claimed that the lack of handicapped spaces, especially in front of the building, limited people with disabilities from accessing town hall. Additionally, Westchester Disabled on the Move claims the lack of an elevator in town hall makes the top floor of the building inaccessible to people who are unable to use stairs.
The approved resolution will allow Supervisor Michael Grace to sign an agreement up to $2,850 with United Spinal Association. Hiring the consultant to investigate the handicapped spaces, Grace said, is not an “admission of guilt.”
According to the federal lawsuit, there are 125 parking spaces at town hall, which would require there to be at least five handicapped spaces under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Westchester Disabled on the Move claims there are only four at town hall: two near the front entrance (second floor) and two near the rear entrance (bottom floor). Grace, however, said that is not correct as there are actually four handicapped spaces near the rear entrance. The third floor, which contains the supervisor’s office and the comptroller’s office, is inaccessible from an outside entrance.
“We have sufficient handicapped spaces, but they basically are providing service to the ground floor, and the mid-floor of the building is served by two handicapped spaces,” Grace said at last week’s town board meeting. “So we’re going to try and see if we can accommodate a few more handicapped spaces out front.”
In November 2013, the town agreed to install two more parking spaces in front of town hall, but they were removed four months later. Grace said those spaces were never meant to be permanent and were only installed during election season because Yorktown Town Hall is a polling place.
“There were some temporary ones put out there for an election time,” he said, “but they were brought back down because there were some issues with actual compliance and whether or not they presented more of a danger than a help, etc. etc.”
Grace said “the problem” with town hall is that it was built about 70 years ago, when municipalities were not legally required to make considerations for people with disabilities.
Westchester Disabled on the Move and the town of Yorktown are scheduled to appear in court in White Plains on Wednesday, March 22, for an initial case management and scheduling conference.
William D. Frumkin, attorney for Westchester Disabled on the Move, did not return a request for comment.
Westchester Disabled on the Move’s executive director, Melvyn Tanzman, a Mohegan Lake resident, announced last month that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for Yorktown supervisor. Grace is expected to be formally endorsed by the Republican Party later this month.