Lee County Planners Require Accessible Design In Affordable
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 2, 2005
FORT MEYERS, FLORIDA--It just makes sense.
That's what Gloria Sajgo, principal planner with Lee County's Department of Community Development, said about a rule that requires all new affordable housing to be accessible to people with disabilities.
"We want our houses to be livable by anybody. And if a disabled person qualifies, they should be able to live there," Sajgo told the News-Press, adding that the costs to make a home accessible when it is built would save residents money over having to build-in accessibility features in the future.
That sentiment was echoed by Wight Greger, senior technical adviser for the Florida Housing Coalition.
"It makes a lot of sense," Greger said. "We have an aging population, and that up-front investment could further the amount of time people stay in their home."
Under the new rules all county applications for affordable housing money must include designs with no-step entries; doors and hallways wide enough for wheelchairs; levers for door and faucet handles; thermostats, light switches and electrical outlets at wheelchair level; and reinforced walls so grab bars can be installed in bathrooms.
"The ability to walk can be stripped away in seconds," explained Scott Straub, an outreach specialist for the Center for Independent Living of Southwest Florida. "People have never walked a day in our shoes -- or rolled a day in our shoes. If they had, they would look at things in a totally different way."
"Building policy changes" (South Florida News-Press)