In Addressing Handicap Parking, Questions Arise Of Compliance For Businesses

In Addressing Handicap Parking, Questions Arise Of Compliance For Businessesthumbnail
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Published: October 19, 2014 @ 9:00 PM EDT

It started with a simple question at a Municipal Land Use Board (MLUB) meeting over the Summer. Resident Jacob Magiera* asked about handicap accessible parking at Deals, a relatively new business located at 158 East Westfield Avenue. The question was asked if accessible parking – commonly known as handicap parking – was required since, at the time, there were no such spaces in the parking lot of the business. The answer from the MLUB was that any applicant had to adhere to all applicable state and federal laws.

Soon after, Deals was contacted and spokesman Randy Guilar investigated the issue, discovering that handicap accessible parking was needed and that the property owner would address the matter. Within the month there were two (2) handicap accessible parking spaces, such as required by law. Deals was in compliance.

This then, however raised questions about the compliance of other businesses in Roselle Park since there are some commercial private lots that do not have handicap accessible parking spaces and it appears that the law requires them to have at least one.

Handicap parking requirements in New Jersey – which are a combination of New Jersey Statues and federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design – require a set number of handicap accessible parking spaces dependent on the total number of parking spaces in a lot.

Total # Of Spaces
Minimum Required
# Of Accessible
Parking Spaces
Van Accessible
Parking Spaces

(Minimum 96” Wide
Access Aisle)
Accessible Parking Spaces
(Minimum 60” Wide Access Aisle)
1-25
1
1
0
26-50
2
1
1
51-75
3
1
2
76-100
4
1
3
101-150
5
1
4
151-200
6
1
5
201-300
7
1
6
301-400
8
1
7
401-500
9
2
7

Additionally, it is required that at least one (1) accessible space in every parking lot and one in every six (1:6) accessible parking spaces be van accessible, with increased dimensions of at least 132 inches (11 feet) and an access aisle of at least 60 inches (5 feet).

Again, the problem is that it appears that all businesses must have, at least, one parking handicap accessible parking space.

According to Curtis Edmonds, Managing Attorney at Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), the issue is complicated because businesses in New Jersey have to comply with federal, state, and local laws regarding accessible parking. He went on to state, “When talking about ADA, the keyword there is ‘readily achievable’. If you have a business and you have parking that you’re providing and you have parking that you’re providing, you’ve got a responsibility to provide that in an accessible way as long as doing so is readily achievable.”

Mr. Edmonds provided an example of a business that is not making a profit and made a profit in years and it can be shown that the responsible party cannot afford to ever put in accessible parking – as well as show that and the building was constructed before 1991 – when the ADA went into effect, then it could be determined that the business basically complied with the American with Disabilities Act. Mr. Edmonds said, “There are not a lot of people out there who can honestly say that in terms of being able to afford it because it’s not all that expensive.”

The confusion arises in that Roselle Park, like numerous other municipalities, have local laws that designate handicapped accessible parking. Borough Code 7-39.4, titled “Handicapped Parking on Private Property Open to the Public and to Which the Public is Invited (Retail Business)” only designates six (6) businesses to have handicap accessible parking. They are the 7-Eleven on Locust Street, Burger King, Sun Tavern, Yesterday’s, McDonald’s, and Welsh Farms. Yesterday’s no longer exists and its name was changed to Domani’s years ago before it burned down in 2009.

The federal law is always going to trumps everything,” stated Mr. Edmonds regarding which law must be adhered to, “There is what’s called the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution which basically says that the Constitution trumps everything, and then federal law trumps set law, and state law trumps whatever city ordinance that there is. Under the ADA you’re still going to have to, if you’re providing parking to the general public, you need to have at least one space.”

The Supremacy Clause referred to by Mr. Edmonds is in Article 6, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution that establishes the Constitution, along with federal statutes, as “the supreme law of the land”.

This was verified by the Roselle Park Police Department (RPPD) when contacted for confirmation and clarification.

“The State of New Jersey does require all business that maintain a private parking area to provide handicap parking,” stated RPPD spokesman James Cantrell, confirming Mr. Edmonds’ assertions, “There are no exceptions to this regulation based upon the size of the business.”

*Note: Jacob Magiera is a sometimes contributor to Roselle Park News.