Voluntary Compliance Agreement between the United States of America and the City of Pinson, Alabama

VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT
between
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
and
THE CITY OF PINSON, ALABAMA

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131 et seq., provides, among other things, that "no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity," 42 U.S.C. § 12132; and

WHEREAS, the term "public entity" under the ADA includes "any ... local government," as well as "any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of ... local government." 42 U.S.C. § 1213l(l)(A), (B); 28 C.F.R. § 35.104; and

WHEREAS, the ADA and its implementing regulations authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct periodic reviews of covered entities. 42 U.S.C. § 12133; 28 C.F.R. § 35.172; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama ("United States"), pursuant to its authority under 42 U.S.C. § 12133, commenced a compliance review of public facilities utilized by the City of Pinson, Alabama ("City") to determine whether those facilities were maintained and operated in compliance with Title II of the ADA ("Compliance Review"); and

WHEREAS, the United States conducted an architectural survey of the following facilities utilized by the City:

WHEREAS, as part of the Compliance Review, the United States also reviewed site plans for Pinson Bicentennial Park (4200 Oak St, Pinson, AL) which was under construction during the relevant time and consulted with the City on accessibility issues for that property; and

WHEREAS, as part of the Compliance Review, the United States also gathered information from the City related to community events such as the Alabama Butterbean Festival, movie nights, and other festivities; and

WHEREAS, the United States and the City share the goal of resolving the Compliance Review and ensuring that the City's facilities operate in compliance with Title II of the ADA; and

WHEREAS, in light of the actions that the City has agreed to take within the next five years as set forth in this Agreement ("the Agreement"), the United States has decided to take no further enforcement action at this time with respect to the City as a result of this Compliance Review;

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY AGREED, BY AND BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE CITY, AS FOLLOWS:

I. APPLICATION AND PARTIES BOUND

  1. The City is a "public entity" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1)(A) because, among other things, it is a "local government" and operates a "department, agency ... or other instrumentality of a ... local government[.]" 42 U.S.C. § 12131(l)(A), (B); 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
  2. As a "public entity," the City is subject to the requirements of Title II of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1)(A), (B); 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
  3. This Agreement shall be binding on the City, and each of its departments, agencies, or instrumentalities.
  4. Based on its review of the City's programs, services, activities, and facilities identified above, the United States has concluded that qualified individuals with disabilities are, by reason of such disabilities, excluded from participation in or are denied the benefits 9f certain City programs, services, or activities in violation of Title II of the ADA. The agreed upon remedial actions in Section III below are intended to remedy those violations.
  5. The parties enter into this Agreement to avoid the burden and expense of further investigation and possible litigation. This Agreement does not constitute an admission by the City of any violation or non-compliance with any provision of the ADA.

II. DEFINITIONS

  1. For purposes of this Agreement, the term "the parties" refers to the United States and the City.
  2. For purposes of this Agreement, the term "2010 Standards" means the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which consists of the 2004 ADAAG and the requirements contained in 28 C.P.R. pt. 36, Subpart D.
  3. For purposes of this Agreement, the term "accessible" means in compliance with the 2010 Standards.

III. REMEDIAL ACTION

A. GENERAL REMEDIES

  1. ADA Coordinator. Within 30 days of the effective date of this agreement, the City will designate an ADA Coordinator, who will serve as the primary contact for disability-related issues raised by the public and City employees. The ADA Coordinator will be responsible for intake of any and all written complaints related to accessibility by members of the public pursuant to an ADA Grievance Procedure Policy. In addition, the City agrees that the ADA Coordinator will maintain a record of all written complaints submitted for a period of at least three years after the submission. The ADA Coordinator will have the authority to address and resolve ADA compliance issues. The City will take appropriate steps to distribute information to the public making known the identity and functions of the ADA Coordinator, including posting the ADA Coordinator's contact information, as well as the City's ADA Grievance Procedure Policy, on the City's internet site.
  2. Construction or Alterations. Exhibit 1 identifies facilities or parts thereof that are in use and open to the public and prevent individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying the City's services, programs, or activities and constitute discrimination on the basis of disability within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12132 and 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.149-35.151. Any construction or alterations to those existing facilities by the City or on its behalf will fully comply with the requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards (or the 1991 ADA Standards, as applicable).
  3. Program Access in Existing Facilities. The City will make its programs, services, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities so they can participate equally in the City's programs, services, and activities.
  4. Areas Not Currently in Public Use. The City has represented that certain areas are not currently in public use. These areas include (1) the City Council dais; (2) the break room at City Hall/Public Library; (3) the staff room at City Hall/Public Library; (4) announcers' booths at Pinson Athletic Fields; and (5) fields behind Old Rock School property. If these or other areas are used for any public program, service, or activity in the future, the City agrees to make them compliant with the 2010 ADA Standards prior to such public use.

B. SPECIFIC REMEDIES

  1. The City will make the following modifications or undertake the following steps, as further detailed in Exhibit 1, on or before the dates identified below:

    Pinson City Hall (4410 Main Street, Pinson, AL)

    By May 31, 2018
    Accessible parking (Items 3--4)
    Hearing room (Items 18-19)
    Second public counter (Item 23)
    Unisex toilet room (Items 27-33)

    By December 31, 2019
    First public counter (Item 21)

    By December 31, 2021
    Accessible parking (Items 5-6)

    Current Pinson Public Library (4410 Main Street, Pinson, AL)

    By May 31, 2018
    Accessible parking (Items 8-13)

    By April 30, 2020
    Library to be moved to renovated, accessible Old Rock School property

    Community Center (6230 Dry Creek Lane, Pinson, AL)

    By May 31, 2018
    Accessible parking (Items 42--44)
    Toilet rooms (Items 51-60)
    Any lease for the Community Center will set forth a procedure whereby individuals with disabilities may ask for assistance if the facility's kitchen is to be used (Items 46--49)

    Palmerdale Homestead Community Center (5320 Miles Spring Rd., Pinson, AL)

    By October 2, 2017
    Unisex toilet room (Items 83-106)
    The City will not use the Palmerdale Homestead Community Center Dance Room for any public program, activity, or service (Items 71-72)
    Any lease for the Palmerdale Homestead Community Center will require that the gym stage not be used during any program, activity, or service where the public is invited on stage (Item 76)
    Any lease for the Palmerdale Homestead Community Center will require that the light to the accessible restroom be turned on before the use of the facility

    By May 31, 2018
    Accessible van parking and accessible entrance at gym (Items 63-69) Gym (Items 74-75)
    Kitchen door hardware (Item 78)
    Concession - install doorbell and signage (Items 80-81)

    Pinson Athletic Fields (7570 Faucett Cut-off Rd., Pinson, AL)

    By May 31, 2018
    Van accessible parking (Items 111-112)
    Baseball Men's restroom (Items 123, 125-128, 130-132)
    Baseball Women's restroom (Items 134, 137-141) Football Men's restroom (Items 150-151) Football Women's restroom (Items 158-159)

    By April 30, 2022
    Accessible route and parking (Items 109, 113-114) Baseball Diamonds (Item 116-118)
    Concessions at ball diamond (Items 120-121) Baseball Men's restroom (Items 124, 129)
    Baseball Women's restroom (Items 135-136, 142) Football area (Items 144-145)
    Football Men's restroom (Items 147-149) Football Women's restroom (Items 152-157)

    Old Rock School (to become library) (Highway 75/Main Street, Pinson, AL)

    By April 30, 2020
    Exterior (Items 162-166)
    Interior (Items 168-171)
    Restrooms (Items 173-191)

    Old Rock School Athletic Fields (Highway 75/Main Street, Pinson, AL)

    By August 31, 2017
    The City will not use the athletic fields behind the Old Rock School for public events (Items 193-194)
    Triangle Park (Highway 75/Main Street, Pinson, AL) By May 31, 2018
    Accessible route to grill/remove table (Item 197)

    By April 30, 2020
    Accessible route (Item 196)
    Community Events (including the Alabama Butterbean Festival, Movie Nights, Fairs, Parades, etc.)

    The City agrees to provide ample accessible parking for community events requiring the closures of streets. On the day of such events, the City agrees to inform the public of the location of accessible parking through adequate, easy-to-read signage. In addition, the City will inform the public of the location of accessible parking spaces in any advertisement, flyer, or social media posting of a community event requiring the closures of streets. The City also agrees to provide accommodations to persons with mobility impairments, as appropriate, through the use of golf carts or other motorized vehicles. The City agrees to have an adequate number of golf carts to meet the anticipated needs of the public attending any community event requiring the closures of streets.

Effective Communications

The City agrees to comply with 28 C.F.R. § 35.160 and provide effective communications to the public, including individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. This includes, but is not limited to, maintaining a text telephone (TTY), and establishing and implementing a procedure where members of the public may request the services of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including a qualified sign language interpreter for public events.

C. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

  1. The City agrees that alterations or renovations that it undertakes to its facilities will fully comply with the requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards (or the 1991 ADA Standards, as applicable). Prior to beginning work on any alterations or renovations, the City will provide the United States with a certification from an appropriately licensed architect indicating that (1) the architect has consulted with the applicable ADA requirements in designing the alterations or renovations in question; and (2) the proposed alterations or renovations are fully compliant with the ADA.
  2. Six months after the date of this Agreement, and annually thereafter until it expires, the City will provide written reports to the United States summarizing its actions taken pursuant to this Agreement. Reports will include, but not be limited to, photographs showing the modified element(s) and relevant measurements, final architectural plans, published notices, copies of any adopted policies, and summaries of accessibility efforts made in preparation for community events.
  3. Throughout the term of this Agreement, consistent with 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a), the City will maintain the accessibility of its programs, activities, services, facilities, and equipment, including routinely testing accessibility equipment (e.g., TTY) and routinely auditing the accessibility of its programs and facilities. This provision, however, does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs. 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(b).
  4. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, and annually thereafter throughout the term of this Agreement, the City will provide a training program to its employees, contractors, or agents who have contact with members of the public regarding the requirements of the ADA and appropriate ways of ensuring program access to individuals with disabilities. The training shall last at least two hours. Within nine months of the effective date of this Agreement, the City will submit to the United States for review and approval, a description of the training, the agenda, copies of training materials, and the name, title, and address of the trainer.

IV. MONITORING AND COMPLIANCE

  1. The City shall cooperate in good faith with any and all reasonable requests by the United States for access to any utilized facilities and for information and documents concerning the City's compliance with this Agreement and the ADA.
  2. The United States shall have the right to verify compliance with this Agreement and the ADA, both as set forth in this Agreement and through any means available to the general public, including visits to the public areas of any City utilized facilities and communications with the City, through the City's attorney. The United States shall have the right to inspect a City utilized facility at any time, and counsel for the United States need not identify themselves in the course of visits to the public areas.

V. ENFORCEMENT

  1. If at any time the City 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 United States 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 United States to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect. These actions must receive the prior written approval of the United States, which approval will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.
  2. If the United States believes that this Agreement or any of its requirements has been violated, it will notify the City in writing and attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the United States and the City are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the City, the United States may commence a civil action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama to enforce the terms of this Agreement and/or the ADA.

VI. GENERAL PROVISIONS

  1. In consideration of, and consistent with, the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit over the elements addressed in Exhibit 1 (Report of Compliance Review), except as provided in the section entitled "Enforcement."
  2. In consideration for the City's timely performance of all of its obligations under this Agreement, the United States agrees to discontinue any Compliance Review of the City, except as provided in the Enforcement section of this Agreement. The United States reserves the right to investigate any complaint it receives concerning the City, to initiate future compliance reviews concerning the City with respect to any aspect of the City or its operation not expressly addressed in this Agreement, and to investigate and commence a civil action with respect to any violation of the ADA not addressed in this Agreement or except as noted in the Enforcement section of this Agreement. In the event the United States receives and investigates an ADA complaint concerning the City, or commences any future compliance review concerning the City, nothing in this Agreement shall limit the scope of any investigation or compliance review of the City or preclude the United States from seeking relief beyond that required under this Agreement.
  3. The City shall make a copy of this Agreement available to any person upon written request.
  4. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature on the Agreement. This Agreement lasts until the City provides a certification of completion of all construction identified herein, or until five years have elapsed since the effective date, whichever occurs earlier.
  5. This Agreement memorializes the commitments made by the City to increase accessibility of the City's facilities and services and the terms under which the United States has agreed to conclude its investigation of the City without further review or enforcement action. This Agreement is not intended to certify or signify that the City is now (or, with the actions taken pursuant to this Agreement, will be) in full compliance with the ADA, nor does it constitute a finding by the United States of such compliance, and it may not be used in any proceeding to signify such compliance. This Agreement does not affect the City's continuing responsibility and obligation to comply with all aspects of the ADA. This Agreement is not intended to reflect any legal interpretation of any provisions of the ADA by the United States, and it may not be used in any proceeding to demonstrate such legal interpretations.
  6. The individuals signing this Agreement represent that they are authorized to bind the parties to this Agreement.
  7. Failure by the United States to enforce the entire Agreement, with regard to any deadline or any other provision of the Agreement, shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines or provisions of the Agreement.
  8. This Agreement constitutes the entire Agreement between the parties relating to the Compliance Review, 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 Agreement, shall be enforceable.

Dated: 6/5/2017


Dated: June 2, 2017

FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

ROBERT O. POSEY
ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY

/s/ Jason Cheek
Jason R. Cheek
Assistant U.S. Attorney

 

FOR THE CITY OF PINSON, ALABAMA

/s/ Hoyt Sanders
Hoyt Sanders
Mayor, City of Pinson