Measure Would Provide Tax Incentives For "Visitable" Homes
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 21, 2006
HAZLETON, PENNSYLVANIA--A bill that would provide incentives for homebuilders and remodelers to make houses accessible to people with disabilities was introduced into the Pennsylvania Senate last Friday.
The legislation, developed by the Pennsylvania Builders Association in collaboration with disability groups, is part of an international trend known as "visitability" or "inclusive home design".
While visitability standards vary across the U.S. and elsewhere, most require private homes to have entrances with no steps that are wide enough for wheelchairs, and at least one first-floor bathroom that is large enough for a wheelchair to turn around. Some also require light switches, electrical outlets, and thermostats to be placed at a level that can be reached from a wheelchair, and walls in bathrooms that are reinforced for installing grab bars.
The Pennsylvania measure would allow counties, municipalities and school districts across the state to reduce a home's assessed value by up to $2,500 as a tax credit to offset the increase in the home's worth from any accessibility modifications.
"Visitability is a commonsense idea," said Pennsylvania Senator Jim Ferlo, who introduced SB 1158 while surrounded by disability advocates. "It is about accessibility, dignity and the ability of our older citizens and those in our community with physical challenges to live and grow old comfortably in their homes."
According to the Standard Speaker, the states of Vermont, Texas, and Kansas have adopted visitability standards into their building codes, along with Atlanta, Georgia; the cities of Chicago, Naperville, Bolingbrook and Urbana, Illinois; and Pima County, Arizona.
"New bill would require renovated or new homes to be handicapped-accessible" (Standard Speaker)
Visitability (Concrete Change)