(a) General. The Department shall operate each program or activity so that the program or activity, viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps. This paragraph does not—
(1) Necessarily require the Department to make each of its existing facilities accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps;
(2) In the case of historic preservation programs, require the Department to take any action that would result in a substantial impairment of significant historic features of an historic property; or
(3) (i) Require the Department to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a program or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens.
(ii) The Department has the burden of proving that compliance with § 105.32(a) would result in that alteration or those burdens.
(iii) The decision that compliance would result in that alteration or those burdens must be made by the Secretary after considering all of the Department's resources available for use in the funding and operation of the conducted program or activity, and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion.
(iv) If an action would result in that alteration or those burdens, the Department shall take any other action that would not result in the alteration or burdens but would nevertheless ensure that individuals with handicaps receive the benefits and services of the program or activity.
(b) Methods—(1) General. The Department may comply with the requirements of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignments of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of existing facilities and construction of new facilities, use of accessible rolling stock, or any other methods that result in making its programs or activities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps.
(ii) The Department is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities if other methods are effective in achieving compliance with this section.
(iii) The Department, in making alterations to existing buildings, shall meet accessibility requirements to the extent compelled by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4151-415 7), and any regulations implementing that Act.
(iv) In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirements of this section, the Department shall give priority to those methods that offer programs and activities to qualified individuals with handicaps in the most integrated setting appropriate.
(2) Historic preservation programs. In meeting the requirements of § 105.32(a) in historic preservation programs, the Department shall give priority to methods that provide physical access to individuals with handicaps. In cases were a physical alteration to an historic property is not required because of § 105.32 (a)(2) or (a)(3), alternative methods of achieving program accessibility include—
(i) Using audiovisual materials and devices to depict those portions of an historic property that cannot otherwise be made accessible;
(ii) Assigning persons to guide individuals with handicaps into or through portions of historic properties that cannot otherwise be made accessible; or
(iii) Adopting other innovative methods.
(c) Time period for compliance. The Department shall comply with the obligations established under this section within 60 days of the effective date of this part except that if structural changes in facilities are undertaken, the changes shall be made within 3 years of the effective date of this part, but in any event as expeditiously as possible.
(d) Transition plan.(1) In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, the Department shall develop, within six months of the effective date of this part, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete those changes.
(2) The Department shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with handicaps or organizations representing individuals with handicaps, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments (both oral and written). A copy of the transition plan must be made available for public inspection.
(3) The plan must, at a minimum—
(i) Identify physical obstacles in the Department's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with handicaps;
(ii) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;
(iii) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and
(iv) Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.
Title 34 published on 2013-07-01
no entries appear in the Federal Register after this date.