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PARTIES TO THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:
PRAIRIE RAPIDS, L.L.C.
211 1st Avenue SE, Suite A
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401-1114
HIGH DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
211 1st Avenue SE, Suite A
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401-1114
VANTAGE POINT, L.L.C.
211 1st Avenue SE, Suite B
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401-1114
ANGELA JACKSON, COMMISSIONER
Iowa Civil Rights Commission
400 East 14th Street, Room 201
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0201
400 East 14th Street, Room 201
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0201
Complainant is a member of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC). As a member, Complainant has the authority to file a complaint alleging a discriminatory practice in violation of the “Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965,” Iowa Code Chapter 216. Complainant alleged Respondents designed and constructed covered multifamily dwellings in violation of the design and construction accessibility requirements of the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA) and the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). Complainant alleged Respondents violated the “accessible and usable public and common use areas,” “accessible route into and through the covered unit,” “light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats,” and the “usable kitchens and bathrooms.”
Complainant specifically alleged, in Unit 2, 140 Rapids Square, Prairie Rapids, one feature in the common areas and three features within one of the covered ground-floor units appeared inaccessible to a person utilizing a wheelchair for mobility – (1) the heights from the adjacent parking surface to the midlines of the keyholes at the mailbox compartments assigned to Units 1, 2, 3, and 4 at the kiosks for each of the three buildings were measured at 63 ⅝” (Unit 1), 60 ⅝” (Unit 2), 57 ⅝” (Unit 3), and 54 ⅝” (Unit 4) – all of which are higher than the 54”-maximum allowed for a parallel approach by persons using a wheelchair; (2) the change in level from the finished interior floor surface to the top of the porch doorway threshold in Unit 2 did not have 1:2 beveling and was measured to be 1 ¾”, which exceeds the ¼”-maximum allowed for thresholds without 1:2 beveling; (3) the height of the thermostat top controls in Unit 2 was measured at 53 ⅜”, which exceeds the allowed maximum height of 48”; and (4) the midline of the of the range in Unit 2 was measured at 20 ⅛” from the nearest obstruction, which is less than the 24”-minimum clearance required by a person using a wheelchair to make a parallel approach to the range.
Description of the Subject Property
Prairie Rapids consists of three residential-unit buildings located on Rapids Square – 130, 140, and 150 – with 36 total units. All the residential buildings and common areas will be required to meet the same accessibility requirements of the ICRA and FHA. The completed buildings at Prairie Rapids were issued Certificates of Occupancy signed by Greg Ahlhelm, Building Official for the City of Waterloo, Iowa. The issue dates for each of the Certificates and the corresponding 300-day filing dates are listed in the table below:
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY DATE
August 2, 2017
May 29, 2018
March 20, 2017
January 14, 2018
February 8, 2017
December 5, 2017
The scope of the current report includes all ground-floor dwelling units at Buildings 130, 140, and 150, and the common use areas, including the dumpsters and the mailbox kiosks located near to the main entrance of Prairie Rapids.
The dwelling units at Prairie Rapids are all 2BR/1BA units and consist of two floor-plan types – ANSI Type A and ANSI Type B. While ANSI Type A units are designed and built to be more accessible than what is required by the ICRA and FHA, ANSI Type B units are only designed and built to meet the minimum accessibility requirements. All three buildings are built the same with one ANSI Type A unit and three ANSI Type B units.
When asked in the questionnaire what was true or false about the allegations, all Respondents answered:
We are very concerned with this complaint and will do our very
best to address any concerns that are included in the letter.
Our goal is to address and correct any issues you and the commission see as an error on our part. We are committed to fair and equal housing and as stated above take this very seriously.
• Mail box violation conflicts with USPS requirements
• The 24" obstruction clearance requirement is to be on both sides?
Report of Preliminary Findings:
ICRC Investigators inspected three covered ground-floor units at Prairie Rapids, as well as the public and common use areas in and surrounding the complex. After conducting an onsite inspection of the units listed in the table above, and the public/common use areas, ICRC Investigators found and reported the following deficiencies:
ANSI Type A ANSI Type B
Respondents’ Response to Report of Preliminary Findings:
Respondents submitted the following responses to the reported deficiencies:
Respondents stated in their written responses to the ICRC questionnaire According to the plans submitted by Respondents, all units were built in accordance with the scoping requirements of the 2012 International Building Code [IBC 2012], which incorporates the standards of the 2009 American National Standards [ANSI 2009] for guidance on the technical requirements [i.e., the dimension requirements]. Neither the IBC 2012 nor the ANSI 2009 is one of the safe harbors accepted by HUD. Therefore, the Manual and the Guidelines, which incorporate ANSI 1986 for some of the technical requirements, must be used to assess and determine compliance with the ICRA and FHA, not IBC 2012 or ANSI 2009.
The common use areas – dumpsters and the mailbox kiosks located near to the main entrance of Prairie Rapids – however, are governed by the FHA since they are only for use by the residents of Prairie Rapids and their guests. The ADA will not be referenced in the current report, because there is no leasing office or other public areas at Prairie Rapids.
Following is the assessment of Respondents’ proposed retrofits, based on the scoping and technical requirements of the 2010 ADAAG, the Manual, and ANSI 1986:
A complaint having been filed by Complainant against Respondents with ICRC under Iowa Code Chapter 216 and there having been a preliminary inquiry, including an on-site inspection of the subject property, the parties do hereby agree and settle the above-captioned matter in the following extent and manner:
Acknowledgment of Fair Housing Laws
1) Respondents agree there shall be no discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any kind against Complainant or any other person for filing a charge under the “Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965” (ICRA); or because of giving testimony or assistance, or participating in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under the ICRA; or because of lawful opposition to any practice forbidden by the ICRA. Iowa Code § 216.11(2).
2) Respondents acknowledge the ICRA makes it unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with the dwelling because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, or familial status. Iowa Code § 216.8(1)(b).
3) Respondents acknowledge the ICRA makes it unlawful to sell, rent, lease, assign, sublease, refuse to negotiate, or to otherwise make unavailable, or deny any real property or housing accommodation or part, portion, or interest therein, to any person because of the race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, or familial status of such person. Iowa Code § 216.8(1)(a).
4) Respondents acknowledge the Fair Housing Act (FHA) makes it unlawful to sell, rent, lease, assign, sublease, refuse to negotiate, or to otherwise make unavailable, or deny any real property or housing accommodation or part, portion, or interest therein, to any person because of the of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. 42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(1)(a) (§ 804(f)(1) of the Fair Housing Act).
5) Respondents acknowledge the FHA and ICRA make it unlawful to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when the accommodations are necessary to afford the person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling and to the extent that the accommodation does not cause undue financial or administrative burden or fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations. 42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(3)(b) (§ 804(f)(3)(b) of the Fair Housing Act); Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(c)(2).
6) Respondents acknowledge the FHA and ICRA make it unlawful to discriminate against another person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with the dwelling because of a disability. 42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(2)(a) (§ 804(f)(2)(a) of the Fair Housing Act); Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(b)(1).
HUD has described these accessibility requirements via regulation and in several publications, including the “Final Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines.” 24 C.F.R. Part 100.200 et seq.; 56 Fed. Reg. 9,472. In the “Guidelines,” HUD presented the seven specific requirements as:
Requirement 1 – Accessible building entrance on an accessible route.
Requirement 2 – Accessible and usable public and common areas.
Requirement 3 – Usable doors.
Requirement 4 – Accessible route into and through the covered dwelling unit.
Requirement 5 – Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental
controls in accessible locations.
Requirement 6 – Reinforced walls for grab bars.
Requirement 7 – Usable kitchens and bathrooms.
Voluntary and Full Settlement
12) Because, pursuant to Iowa Code §216.15A(2)(d), the ICRC has not determined that disclosure is not necessary to further the purposes of the ICRA relating to unfair or discriminatory practices in housing or real estate, this Agreement is a public record and subject to public disclosure in accordance with Iowa’s Public Records Law, Iowa Code Chapter 22. See Iowa Code §22.13.
13) Complainant hereby waives, releases, and covenants not to sue Respondents with respect to any matters which were or might have been alleged as charges filed with ICRC, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development, or any other anti-discrimination agency, subject to performance by Respondents of the promises and representations contained herein. Complainant agrees any complaint filed with any other anti-discrimination agency, including the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development, which involves the issues in this complaint, shall be closed as Satisfactorily Adjusted.
Fair Housing / Accessible Design and Construction Training
The training shall be conducted by a qualified person, approved by ICRC or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additionally, attendance at one of the training events offered by Fair Housing Accessibility First – information about which is available online at http://www.fairhousingfirst.org/training/calendar.html - will fulfill the requirement for this term.
Required Modifications or Retrofits
Accessible and Usable Public and Common Use Areas – Parking Area
(a) The parties agree that the parking area adjacent to Buildings 130, 140, and 150 lack the required paint strip markings and signage required by ANSI 1986 to allow identification of the parking spaces and access aisles.
(b) Respondents agree they will install the required paint stripe markings and signage to identify at least one access aisle and parking space adjacent to the curb ramps located near Buildings 130, 140, and 150, and in compliance with all requirements – including the minimum dimensional requirements – specified in Sections 4.6 and 4.28 from ANSI 1986, which is available online at: http://cdn.loc.gov/service/ll/fedreg/fr055/fr055116/fr055116.pdf.
(c) Respondents agree to complete the retrofits described in the current section within 60 days from the date of the Closing Letter from ICRC.
Accessible and Usable Public and Common Use Areas – Mailboxes
(a) The parties agree the mailbox compartments are unusable for someone in a wheelchair because the height from the parking surface to the midline of the keyholes of the mail compartments exceeds the 54”-maximum height allowed by ANSI 1986.
(b) Respondents agree they will coordinate with the United States Postal Services (USPS) Postmaster in Waterloo, Iowa to rearrange the mailbox numbers of assigned to the ground-floor units at mailbox kiosks for Buildings 130, 140, and 150 – such that all ground-floor units will have mailbox keyholes with midlines that do not exceed the maximum the 54”-height as measured from the parking lot surface – that is allowed because there is sufficient clearance for tenants who use a wheelchair to make a parallel approach.
(c) Respondents agree to complete the retrofit described in the current subsection within 60 days from the date of the Closing Letter from ICRC.
Usable Doors – Threshold for Secondary Door to Balcony
(a) The parties agree the interior threshold heights onto the finished floor surface at the doorways to the porches of all inspected units exceed the ¼”-maximum height allowed by the Manual for interior thresholds without 1:2 beveling at secondary doorways.
(b) Respondents agree they will install ramps with a running slope of no greater than 1:12 at the interior side of the threshold at the doorway from the living room to the porch in all ground-floor units, as required by the Manual.
(c) Respondents agree they will complete the retrofit described in the current subsection within one year of the date of the Closing Letter from ICRC or sooner if requested by a tenant with a disability.
Light Switches, Electrical Outlets, Thermostats, and Other Environmental Controls in Accessible Locations – Thermostats
(a) The parties agree the height of the top thermostat controls in all inspected units exceed the maximum height of 48”, as allowed by the Manual.
(b) Respondents agree they will vertically relocate the thermostats in all units to a lower height, such that the display screen and all operating buttons do not exceed maximum height of 48”, as required by the Manual.
(c) Respondents agree theywill complete the retrofit described in the current subsection at all ground-floor units within one year from the date of the Closing Letter from ICRC or sooner if requested by a tenant with a disability.
Usable Kitchens – Clear Floor Space at Range
(a) The parties agree the distance from the midline of the range to the nearest obstruction in all inspected units was measured at less than the 24”-minimum required by the Manual.
(b) Respondents agree they will modify the kitchen base cabinets and counters adjacent to the range at all ground-floor units in Buildings 130, 140, and 150, and then move the range further away from the nearest obstruction to increase the distance from the midline of the range to the nearest obstruction to no less than the 24”-minimum required in the Manual.
(c) Respondents agree they will complete the retrofit described in the current subsection at all ground-floor units within one year from the date of the Closing Letter from ICRC or sooner if requested by a tenant with a disability.
Required Timelines for Completion of Modifications or Retrofits
18) Respondents agree to notify all current tenants, via a letter, within 60 days from the date of the Closing Letter from ICRC about the option to make a reasonable accommodation request because of a disability for any of the above-required modifications or retrofits in their units, at no charge to the tenants.
19) Respondents agree to complete all retrofits requested as a reasonable accommodations within 14 days from the date the request is submitted by the tenant.
20) Respondents agree, for any tenant who makes a reasonable modification request that concerns one or more of the above-required modifications or retrofits, they will allow the tenant to make the decision whether the above-required modifications or retrofits are made during their tenancy. Respondents also agree those tenants who make that decision will be allowed to remain in their units while the renovations are being completed, so long as their continued stay is safe and does not unduly disrupt the renovation work. If their continued stay is not safe or unduly interferes with renovation work, Respondents agree to move the affected tenants to another suitable unit on a temporary basis, until the unit is made safe or the renovation work is completed. Respondents agree to pay all costs generated by such move.
18) Respondents agree to notify ICRC when they have completed the required modifications or retrofits for each of the units and the public and common use areas. Such notification shall be made within 90 days of completion. These required notifications to ICRC after each unit or common area is modified or retrofitted will continue until all required modifications or retrofits have been completed in all applicable units.
20) Respondents agree, as the required modifications or retrofits are made to a particular unit, ICRC may then inspect such unit, and then report the results of its inspection, addressing any outstanding deficiencies, in writing and within 30 days of the inspection, to Respondents. If the inspection indicates outstanding deficiencies, Respondents shall correct all such deficiencies within a reasonable period of time as determined by ICRC.
21) The sale or transfer of ownership, in whole or in part, by any owner of the subject property will not affect any obligation to modify or retrofit the subject property as specified in this Agreement, unless Respondents have obtained, in writing, as a condition of sale or transfer, the purchaser or transferee’s commitment to be bound by the terms of this agreement to complete all required modifications or retrofits as specified in this Agreement.
Prairie Rapids, L.L.C. . Date
High Development Corporation Date
Vantage Point, L.L.C. Date
Angela Jackson, Commissioner Date
Kristin H. Johnson, Executive Director Date
IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION
 See Iowa Code §§216.8A(3)(c)(3)(a) [Requirement 2 – Accessible and Usable Public and Common Use Areas]; 216.8A(3)(c)(3) (c)(i) [Requirement 4 – Accessible Route into and Through the Covered Unit]; 216.8A(3)(c)(3)(c)(ii) [Requirement 5 – Light Switches, Electrical Outlets, Thermostats, and Other
Environmental Controls in Accessible Locations]; and 216.8A(3)(c)(3)(c)(iv) [Requirement 7 – Usable Kitchens and Bathrooms].
 Henceforth, each building will be referred to as “Building [address number].”
 See Appendix B for floor plans.
 See Appendix B.
 See Appendix A, Figure 3A for location of mailbox kiosks as captioned in the site plans.
 See Appendix A, Photos 2A and 2B.
 See Appendix A, Photo 3A.
 See Appendix A, Photo 4A.
 See Appendix B.
 See Appendix A, Photo 5A.
 http://www.fairhousingfirst.org/faq/safeharbors.html (Last visited on March 28, 2014).
 ANSI 1986 starts on page 198 of the PDF file available online.