7 CFR § 15b.18 - Existing facilities.
(a) Accessibility. A recipient shall operate each assisted program or activity so that when each part is viewed in its entirety it is readily accessible to and usable by qualified handicapped persons. This paragraph does not necessarily require a recipient to make each of its existing facilities or every part of an existing facility accessible to and usable by qualified handicapped persons.
(b) Method. A recipient may comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of classes or other services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of exiting facilities and construction of new facilities in conformance with the requirements of § 15b.19, or any other method that results in making its program or activity accessible to qualified handicapped persons. A recipient is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with paragraph (a) of this section. In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirement of paragraph (a) of this section, a recipient shall give priority to those methods that serve qualified handicapped persons in the most intergrated setting appropriate.
(c) Small providers. If a recipient with fewer than fifteen employees finds, after consultation with a handicapped person seeking its services, that there is no method of complying with paragraph (a) of this section other than by making a significant alteration in its existing facilities, the recipient may, as an alternative, refer the handicapped person to other providers of those services that are accessible at no additional cost to handicapped persons.
(d) Application for modification of requirements. Recipients that determine after a self-evaluation conducted according to the requirements of § 15b.8(c), that accessibility can only be accomplished through substantial modifications which would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or activity, may apply to the Secretary for a modification of the requirements of this section.
(e) Historic Preservation Programs; Application for waiver of program accessibility requirements.
(1) A recipient shall operate each assisted program or activity involving Historic Preservation Programs so that when each part is viewed in its entirety it is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. This paragraph does not necessarily require a recipient to make each of its existing historic properties or every part of an historic property accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. Methods of achieving accessibility include:
(i) Making physical alterations which enable handicapped persons to have access to otherwise inaccessible areas or features of historic properties;
(ii) Using audio-visual materials and devices to depict otherwise inaccessible areas or features of historic properties;
(iv) Adopting other innovative methods to achieve accessibility. Because the primary benefit of an Historic Preservation Program is the experience of the historic property itself, in taking steps to achieve accessibility, recipients shall give priority to those means which make the historic property, or portions thereof physicially accessible to handicapped individuals.
(2) Where accessibility cannot be achieved without causing a substantial impairment of significant historic features, the Secretary may grant a waiver of the accessibility requirement. In determining whether accessibility can be achieved without causing a substantial impairment, the Secretary shall consider the following factors:
(i) Scale of property, reflecting its ability to absorb alterations;
(ii) Use of the property, whether primarily for public or private purpose;
(iii) Importance of the historic features of the property to the conduct of the program or activity; and,
(iv) Cost of alterations in comparison to the increase in accessibility.
(3) Where the property is federally owned or where Federal funds may be used for alterations, the comments of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation shall be obtained when required by section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470), and 36 CFR part 800, prior to effectuation of structural alterations.
(f) Time period. A recipient shall comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section within sixty days of the effective date of this part except that where structural changes in facilities are necessary, such changes shall be made within three years of the effective date of this part and as expeditiously as possible.
(g) Transition plan. In the event that structural changes to facilities are necessary to meet the requirement of paragraph (a) of this section, a recipient shall develop, within one year of the effective date of this part, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. The plan shall be developed with the assistance of interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons. A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection. The plan shall, at a minimum:
(2) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;
(3) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve full accessibility under paragraph (a) of 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
(4) Identify the person responsible for implementation of the plan.
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