DOJ Claims Country Club Apartment Complex Discriminates Against People With Disabilities
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 13, 2002
HENDERSON, NEVADA--The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit last week against the owner, developer, architect and site engineer of a Henderson apartment complex for discriminating against people with disabilities.
The complaint names as defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada, Inc., and De Luna, Inc., all of whom were responsible for the design and construction of the Green Valley Country Club Apartments. The current owner of the complex, Green Valley Country Club Limited Partnership, is also being sued as a party necessary for relief, according to a DOJ media release.
This case began when the Nevada Fair Housing Council, Inc., a fair housing rights organization, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD referred the complaint to the DOJ, which conducted an investigation and determined that the property did not comply with the Fair Housing Act.
The DOJ claims the apartments are not accessible to people with disabilities because, among other things, there are no accessible routes into the units, the doors are too narrow for wheelchairs, bathroom walls lack reinforcements needed for safely installing grab bars, and the common and public use areas are not accessible.
Under the Fair Housing Act, apartment complexes and condominiums with four or more units that are built for to be first occupied after March 13, 1991, must include accessible common and public use areas such as parking, walkways, rental or sales offices, recreational areas, and clubhouses. The ground-floor units in non-elevator buildings must also include accessible routes into and through the dwelling, doors wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, outlets and environmental controls at accessible heights, bathroom walls that have reinforcements for installing grab bars, and bathrooms and kitchens that are large enough for people who use wheelchairs to maneuver within and use them. In buildings with elevators, all of the units must contain these features.