SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN

 THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 AND

 THE MONROE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

CONSERVATION DISTRICT

 

DJ 204-62-200


BACKGROUND

 

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

 

            The United States Department of Justice (Department) initiated this matter as a compliance review of the Monroe County, Pennsylvania Conservation District (Conservation District), under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Department’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.  The compliance review was generated when, during a routine inspection of a related governmental entity, the Department of Justice determined that the certain spaces and elements within the Conservation District’s Stroudsburg facility were not accessible to persons with disabilities.

 

            The review was conducted by the Disability Rights Section of the Department’s Civil Rights Division and focused on the Conservation District’s compliance with the title II requirement to ensure that spaces and elements in the Conservation District’s Stroudsburg facility, for which alterations commenced after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

 

JURISDICTION

 

1.         The ADA applies to the Conservation District because it is a “public entity” as defined by title II.  42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).

 

2.         The Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. § 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.

 

3.         The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Monroe County, Pennsylvania Conservation District.

 

4.         In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties enter into this Agreement.

 

5.         In consideration of, and consistent with, the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter regarding all matters contained within this Agreement, except as provided in the section entitled “Implementation and Enforcement.”

 

REMEDIAL ACTION

 

6.         Except as set forth below, within 12 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Conservation District will complete the following modifications to its facility, located at E.E. Center, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

 

a.         Within 30 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Conservation District will complete the following modifications to the parking lot:

 

1.         The access aisle for the wider parking space reserved for persons with disabilities is not clearly demarcated and lacks a “van-accessible” sign and the signage at the other accessible spaces is too low or is missing altogether.  On the shortest accessible route to the accessible entrance, provide at least one van accessible space and 2 standard spaces designated as reserved for people with disabilities.  Standard accessible spaces shall be a minimum of 96 inches wide and served by access aisles at least 60 inches wide.  Van accessible spaces shall be a minimum of 96 inches wide and served by access aisles at least 96 inches wide.  All spaces designated as reserved for people with disabilities shall have vertical signs with the International Symbol of Accessibility located such that they cannot be obstructed by parked vehicles.  Van accessible spaces shall have an additional “Van-Accessible” sign located below the International Symbol of Accessibility.  Standards §§ 4.1.2(5), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.6, 4.30.7(1).

 

b.         There is no assistive listening system for the meeting or conference rooms.  Within 24 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Conservation District will complete the following modifications to Provide a permanently installed assistive listening system (ALS) or a portable ALS with an adequate number of electrical outlets or other supplementary wiring necessary to support a portable assistive listening system.  Also provide at least 2 receivers for use by the general public and signage indicating their availability.  Standards §§ 4.1.3(19)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.30, 4.33.

 

c.         The coat hooks provided near the entrance are too high.  Provide a coat hook at a maximum height above the finished floor of 48 inches for a forward approach or 54 inches for a side approach and that is accompanied by clear floor space of 30 by 48 inches that allows a forward or parallel approach by a person using a wheelchair.  Standards §§ 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6.

 

d.         Within 30 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Conservation District will complete the following modifications to the ramp:

 

1.         The ramp has an excessive slope in places; the first landing (from the bottom of the ramp going up) at the change in direction is 47 inches wide by 100 inches long; and the second landing (from the bottom of the ramp going up) at the change in direction is 47 inches wide by 100 inches long.   Provide a ramp that is at least 36 inches wide with a slope not exceeding 1:12 and a cross slope not exceeding 1:50; with level landings at least as wide as the ramp and 60 inches long at the top and bottom of the ramp; with level landings measuring at least 60 inches by 60 inches when the ramp changes direction; and edge protection that is at least 2 inches high at the drop off sides.  Provide handrails that are between 1¼ inches and 1½ inches in diameter such that the inside handrail is continuous and both handrails have a continuous gripping surface along both sides of the ramp extending at least 12 inches beyond the top and bottom of the ramp parallel with the ground surface; the handrails do not rotate within their fittings; and both handrails are mounted between 34 inches and 38 inches above the ramp surface, with ends rounded or returned smoothly to the floor, wall, or post.  Ensure that the ramp and approaches are designed so that water will not accumulate on walking surfaces.  Standards §§ 4.1.2(1), 4.1.2(2), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.3.8, 4.8.

 

e.         Within 24 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Conservation District will complete the following modifications to the exterior entrance on the lower level:

 

1.         There is a 1-1/2 inch change in level at the threshold to the exterior door and a 1 inch change in level at the interior door.  Provide accessible doors with thresholds that are no greater than ¼ inch, or are no greater than ½ inch and beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2.  Standards §§ 4.1.3(7)(a), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.8, 4.5.2.

 

2.         The door pressure of the interior door is 13 pounds.  Provide a door that requires no more than 5 pounds of force to open.  Standards §§ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.11(2)(b).

 

f.          The service counter for the reception area on the lower level is 43-1/2 inches above the finished floor.  Provide a counter on an accessible route such that a portion of the counter is at least 36 inches wide and no more than 36 inches above the finished floor, or provide an auxiliary counter with a maximum height of 36 inches in close proximity to the main counter, or provide equivalent facilitation.   Equivalent facilitation may be provided in the form of a folding shelf attached to the main counter, an auxiliary table nearby, a clip board made available to the public, or other means.  Standards §§ 4.1.1(2), 4.1.6(1)(b), 7.2(2), 4.1.3(1), 4.3.

 

g.         Drinking Fountains

 

1.         Upper Level - New Space

 

A.        Although a lower drinking fountain is provided, there is no drinking fountain provided for people who have difficulty bending or stooping.  For each lower drinking fountain, provide a drinking fountain that is accessible to people who have difficulty bending or stooping.  This can be accommodated by the use of a “hi-lo” fountain; by providing one fountain accessible to those who use wheelchairs and one fountain at a standard height convenient for those who have difficulty bending; by providing a fountain accessible to people who use wheelchairs and a cup dispenser, or by such other means as would achieve the required accessibility for each group of people.  Standards § 4.1.3(10)(a).

 

2.         Upper Level - Existing Space

 

A.        Although a lower drinking fountain is provided, there is no drinking fountain provided for people who have difficulty bending or stooping.  For each lower drinking fountain, provide a drinking fountain that is accessible to people who have difficulty bending or stooping.  This can be accommodated by the use of a “hi-lo” fountain; by providing one fountain accessible to those who use wheelchairs and one fountain at a standard height convenient for those who have difficulty bending; by providing a fountain accessible to people who use wheelchairs and a cup dispenser, or by such other means as would achieve the required accessibility for each group of people.  Standards § 4.1.3(10)(a).

 

h.         Toilet Rooms

 

1.         Upper Floor -   New Space

 

A.        Unisex, Single-User Toilet Room on the Left

 

i.          The toilet room sign is not mounted on the wall on the latch side of the door, it lacks Braille characters, and its centerline is 62 inches above the finished floor.  Provide a toilet room sign with the International Symbol of Accessibility and raised and Braille characters.  The sign shall be mounted on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door with the centerline of the sign at 60 inches above the finished floor and situated such that a person can approach within 3 inches of the sign without encountering an obstruction or standing within a door swing.  Standards §§ 4.1.2(7)(d), 4.30.1, 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6, 4.30.7.

 

ii.          The door lock requires tight grasping, pinching of the wrist to operate.  Provide a door with hardware usable with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.  Lever-operated, push-type, and U-shaped handles are acceptable designs.  Standards § 4.13.9.

 

iii.         The flush control is on the closed side.  Provide a flush control mounted on the “open” side of the toilet’s clear floor space; 44 inches or less above the finished floor; and requiring a maximum of 5 pounds of force to operate; or provide an automatic flush device.  Standards §§ 4.16.5, 4.27.4.

 

iv.         The toilet paper dispenser is centered at 15 inches above the finished floor.  Provide a toilet paper dispenser that is mounted within reach, with its top at least 1½ inches under the side grab bar, and centered at least 19 inches above the finished floor.  Standards § 4.16.6, Fig. 29(b).

 

B.         Single-user Toilet Room on the Right

 

i.          The toilet room sign is not mounted on the wall on the latch side of the door, it lacks Braille characters, and its centerline is 62 inches above the finished floor.  Provide a toilet room sign with the International Symbol of Accessibility and raised and Braille characters.  The sign shall be mounted on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door with the centerline of the sign at 60 inches above the finished floor and situated such that a person can approach within 3 inches of the sign without encountering an obstruction or standing within a door swing.  Standards §§ 4.1.2(7)(d), 4.30.1, 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6, 4.30.7.

 

ii.          The door lock requires tight grasping, pinching of the wrist to operate.  Provide a door with hardware usable with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.  Lever-operated, push-type, and U-shaped handles are acceptable designs.  Standards § 4.13.9.

 

iii.         The toilet paper dispenser is centered at 15 inches above the finished floor.  Provide a toilet paper dispenser that is mounted within reach, with its top at least 1½ inches under the side grab bar, and centered at least 19 inches above the finished floor.  Standards § 4.16.6, Fig. 29(b).

 

C.        The Men’s and Women’s toilet rooms in the older area of the upper floor are not fully accessible.  Provide accessible directional signage with the International Symbol of Accessibility at the inaccessible toilet rooms indicating the location of the nearest accessible toilet rooms.  Standards §§ 4.1.2(7)(d), 4.1.6(3)(e)(iii), 4.30.1, 4.30.2, 4.30.3, 4.30.5, 4.30.7.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

 

7.         Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, at yearly anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement until it expires, the Conservation District will submit written reports to the Department summarizing the actions Conservation District has taken pursuant to this Agreement.  Reports will include copies of adopted policies

8.         .

 

9.         Throughout the life of this Agreement, consistent with 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a), the Conservation District will maintain the accessibility of its programs, activities, services, facilities, and equipment, and will take whatever actions are necessary (such as routine testing of accessible equipment and routine accessibility audits of its programs and facilities) to do so.

 

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

 

10.       If at any time the Conservation District desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it will promptly notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify modification and the substance of the proposed modification.  Until there is written Agreement by the Department to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect.  These actions must receive the prior written approval of the Department, which approval will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.

 

11.       The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time.  If the Department believes that the Conservation District has failed to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for a modification of the relevant terms, the Department will so notify the Conservation District in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith.  If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the Conservation District, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement, or it may initiate appropriate steps to enforce title II.

 

12.       For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for the Conservation District to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of its requirements without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for an extension of the relevant time frame imposed by the Agreement.

 

13.       Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein will not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.

 

14.       This Agreement is a public document.  A copy of this document or any information contained in it will be made available to any person by the Conservation District or the Department on request.

 

15.       This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement , will be enforceable.  This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law.  This Agreement does not affect the Conservation District’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

 

16.       This Agreement will remain in effect for three years.

 

17.       The person signing for the Conservation District represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Conservation District to this Agreement.

 

18.       The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.

 

 

For the Conservation District:

 

 

 

 

 

By: ____________________________

      CRAIG TODD, Director

      The Conservation District

      Monroe County, Pennsylvania

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date:  ___________________________

     For the United States:

 

     R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA,

     Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

 

 

By:_____________________________                    

     JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief

     JEANINE WORDEN, Deputy Chief

     MARY LOU MOBLEY, Senior Counsel

     PAULA N. RUBIN, Investigator

     U.S. Department of Justice

     Civil Rights Division

     950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

     Disability Rights Section - NYA

     Washington, DC 20530

 

 

Date:  ______________________________