Building ordinance amendment looks to increase handicap accessibility

By Ben Holbrook | Sep 25, 2012

Belfast — City Councilors approved the first reading of an amendment to the Buildings and Building Regulations ordinance that would require businesses to provide access to their buildings through the use of a permanent or temporary ramp whose entrance is six inches high or less.

There are no ordinances requiring ramps for businesses with entrances higher than six inches.

After researching the cost of installing temporary ramps, which can “run from a few dollars to $130” as noted in a report from City Manager Joseph Slocum, councilors agreed the amendment was sound.

A suggestion was put forth by Councilor Mike Hurley who said it might be worthwhile to add an additional amendment for businesses to add a handrail or grab bars for people to hold onto when entering and exiting.

“I think the idea of handles you can grab is a good idea. I don’t know if grab bars should be part of this ordinance, or a separate ordinance,” Councilor Marina Delune said.

Delune also suggested reaching out to more businesses in town in an effort to further explain the council’s intent. However, Hurley said he didn’t feel more outreach is necessary as the purpose of the amendment “is very clear.”

The first reading of the proposed amendment passed unanimously with Councilors Nancy Hamilton and Roger Lee absent from the meeting.

A public hearing will be held regarding the proposed amendment before a final vote is taken.

Other business

Councilors awarded a bid in the amount of $8,787 to C.A. Newcomb and Sons to replace the guardrails near the intersection of Robbins Road and Swan Lake Avenue.

The AMVETS received approval to hold a public Broiler Fest on Aug. 10, 2013, in Belfast City Park.

Friends of Belfast Parks were approved to hold the 10th Annual Maine Wienerfest at Steamboat Landing Sept. 29, 2013.

Councilors approved a request to allow the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to host a 2.5-mile walk through the city Sept. 29,2012 starting at Belfast Area High School at 9 a.m.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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