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March 14, 2012

The Regulatory State: DOJ Interprets ADA to Require Permantly Affixed Lifts at All Public Pools

You can thank George Herbert Walker Bush for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recall that Bush was the "kinder, gentler" president. In other words, he allowed Democrats to define conservatism negatively, as something harsh that needed fixing. In his view, government is only benevolent. All that small government stuff Regan talked about--you, know, the coattails Bush rode in on? Well, Bush knew better than that.

A lot of good that did him. The fact is, Reagan was the nice man. Bush was filled with arrogance.

So for the last twenty years, small business has been a paying the price for Bush's hubris. Businesses have been burdened with trying to stay in compliance with onerous, one-size-fits-all federal legislation--regardless of whether there was the money to do so.

The ADA contains no "grandfathering clause" for older properties, for example. Grandfathering is left up to local building codes, and since most municipalities have adopted the BOCA building code, moderate levels of building renovation mean the property must be brought into compliance. And if you don't, it's a civil rights lawsuit. George Herbert Walker Bush.

You know that old building you thought you'd rehab, maybe start a little business in with your shoestring budget? Forget it. Think about that the next time you find yourself wondering about an empty, older property that seems like it ought to be a prime location for a business. That's why it's vacant.

Now public pools must have wheelchair lifts. Because, hey, all pool owners are just stuffed to the gills with cash, aren't they? If you own a little apartment block with a pool and you're barely making ends meet, well, tough luck. Now you have something else to pay for. And pool regulations are never covered by grandfathering exemptions.

In September 2010, the DOJ issued guidelines for "recreational facilities," including a new rule that all public access swimming pools must provide a lift capable of moving disabled patrons from their wheelchairs into the water.

. . .

On Jan. 31 of this year, DOJ granted the industry's call for a clarification: But it was not the answer they wanted. All 300,000 public pools in the United States must install a permanent fixed lift. The deadline for compliance is tomorrow, March 15. Call it "Poolmageddon."

So, anyway. Shell out, buster. You're rich.

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posted by rdbrewer at 03:51 PM

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