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(a) General. The purpose of the Board is to act in an advisory capacity to the City Council relative to measures and methods utilized to promote disabled accessibility in the City. The duties of the Board are:
(1) To advise and recommend to the City Council ways and means to promote disabled accessibility in the City. The Board may also, upon request, advise private owners of ways to improve disabled accessibility of private property.
(2) To explore methods of obtaining private, local, state and federal funds to promote disabled accessibility within the City.
(3) To render assistance regarding disabled accessibility in City sponsored programs, activities and services and on access to City properties.
(b) Appeals. The Disabled Access Appeals and Advisory Board shall consider at a noticed public hearing all matters referred to it by the City Council, staff, and any written appeals filed by any aggrieved person regarding a City departmental action taken, except as technical decision referred to in this subsection, on a denial or issuance of building permit, paving permit or departmental permit concerning issues of the application of state law, City ordinances or City policies governing access for the disabled to public accommodations in buildings and facilities constructed with private funds. However, there is no right of appeal with regards to a departmental decision required to meet specific numerical standards of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, when no exception, exemption or other relief is authorized by that law.
(c) Exceptions. The Board shall also review appeals of the Building Official’s or the Department of Community Development’s granting or denying of exceptions authorized under Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations. Other than the small project exception under subsection (c) below, in reviewing appeals of departmental decisions on exceptions from the literal requirements of the standards and specifications authorized under Title 24, or City codes, or in permitting the use of other methods and materials concerning disabled accessibility and usability, the Board may approve such only when it finds (1) an unreasonable hardship, if Title 24 requires such, would be created for the permit applicant to alter the existing structure, and (2) it is clearly evident that equivalent facilitation access and protection will be secured. “Equivalent facilitation” means an alternative method of complying with the literal requirements of the standards or specifications that provides access in terms of the purpose of those standards or specific actions.
(d) Small project exceptions. When the total construction cost of alterations, structural repairs or additions does not exceed the State’s 1996 valuation threshold amount of Eighty-One Thousand Eight Hundred Ninety-Six and Forty-Six/100ths ($81,896.46) Dollars, as annually adjusted by the Construction Cost Index, the Board, on appeal of such projects, may find that an unreasonable
hardship exists on the permit applicant, and compliance shall be limited to the actual work of the project. For purposes of this exception, an unreasonable hardship exists where the cost of providing an accessible entrance, path of travel, sanitary facilities, public phones and drinking fountains, is disproportionate to the cost of the project; that is, where it exceeds twenty (20%) percent of the cost of the project without these features. Where the cost of alterations necessary to make these features fully accessible is disproportionate, access shall be provided to the extent that it can be without incurring disproportionate cost.
The obligation to provide access may not be evaded by performing a series of small alterations to the area served by a single path of travel if those alterations could have been performed as a single undertaking. If an area has been altered without providing an accessible path of travel to that area, and subsequent alterations of that area or a different area on the same path of travel are undertaken within three (3) years of the original alteration, the total cost of alterations to the areas on that path of travel during the preceding three (3) year period shall be considered in determining whether the cost of making that path of travel accessible is disproportionate. Only alterations undertaken after January 26, 1992, shall be considered in determining if the cost of providing an accessible path of travel is disproportionate to the overall cost of the alterations.
(e) Total exemptions. Where Title 24 authorizes the Building Official’s finding of total exemption from full compliance for existing structures, the appeals process to the Board shall be required to ratify such action as required by Section 101.17.11, Item 4 of Title 24.
(f) Factors for determining unreasonable hardship. When required to find an unreasonable hardship pursuant to granting any exceptions under state law or City ordinance, the Board shall consider:
(1) Cost of providing access.
(2) Cost of all construction contemplated.
(3) Impact of proposed access improvements on financial feasibility of the project.
(4) Nature of accessibility which would be gained or lost.
(5) Nature of the use of the facility under construction and its availability to disabled persons.
(g) Recommendations. With issues sent to the Disabled Access Appeals and Advisory Board by City staff or the City Council, the Board shall provide recommendations to the City Council for the Council’s approval of interpretations, policies, standards or guidelines to be used by the Building Official, other City departments or the Board pertaining to unreasonable hardships, other exceptions and the interpretation or application of state or City laws, or city policies governing access for the disabled to public accommodations or facilities constructed with private funds.
(h) Decision: Appeal to Council. The Board may grant, conditionally grant or deny any appeal. The decision of an appeal shall be concurred in by at least three (3) members of the Board. The granting or denying of any appeal by the Board may be appealed by the applicant, any aggrieved person or any individual Councilmember (without fee) to the City Council.
(§ 1, Ord.1037-NS, eff. July 25, 1989, as amended by § 3, Ord. 1173-NS, eff. March 2, 1993, and § 2, Ord. 1294-NS, eff. October 2, 1997)