Q. The IRS moved to a new building on Koger Boulevard, but it doesn’t have handicapped parking. Isn’t every public building required to have it?
A. Here’s a lesson for us all: The Americans With Disabilities Act requires businesses to provide spaces close to their entrances for those rightfully holding handicapped placards. At least one of the spaces must have van accessibility, with an 8-foot striped area for wheelchairs. The number of spaces should be proportionate to the total spaces in the lot. That’s the law.
those spaces are reserved for people who rightfully hold a placard (and didn’t just borrow it from Grandma to avoid a long walk), including those with a limited ability to walk, the parents of a handicapped child or an organization that transports handicapped people.
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That said, the News & Record called the city of Greensboro’s zoning office and a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, Mark Hanson. The IRS is only a tenant in the Alamance Building at 4905 Koger Boulevard. Hanson referred us to Allegiance Realty, which owns the building.
The person who answered the phone at Allegiance said Greensboro city workers had been out that morning following up on our call, and she declined to comment further.
What zoning enforcement had to say: The building’s expansion project to house the IRS is still underway, and yes, there are not enough handicapped spaces for inspectors to give the project final occupancy approval. The building has three handicapped spaces, but at least seven are required.
The existing spaces are behind the building; none are at the Koger Boulevard entrance.
And if that’s your basic concern (you didn’t leave a number for us to ask), that won’t change. Generally, if there are several entrances, spaces must be provided at each entrance. But codes also specify that they be placed at “the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible entrance,” said Julius Register, the city’s plan review supervisor in the inspections department.
The Koger entrance is not considered handicapped accessible because of the stairs, which prohibit use of a wheelchair.
The “shortest accessible route” also doesn’t always mean those closest to an accessible entrance, such as parking spots in front of the door, Register said. Sometimes it means closest to a ramp that leads to an entrance. If you have other questions about the law, call the city’s zoning office at 373-2630.
Oh, and for those who think it’s OK to leave a car “running” in a handicapped spot for a quick dash into a business: According to state statutes (20-37.6), that $250 illegal parking fine is for those who park or “leave standing” any vehicle. And any law enforcement officer, including a company police officer, can tow you.
— Staff Writer Nancy McLaughlin