4 City Laws, Regulations and Policies
4 City Laws, Regulations and Policies
4.1 ADA Standard
The City is required to review all of its laws, regulations, and policies to ensure that its laws do not discriminate against a person with disabilities on the basis of their disability. The ADA requires the City to make reasonable modifications to these laws, regulations, and policies if they intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against or adversely affect people with disabilities. Further, the City must ensure that its contractors do not discriminate on the basis of disability when providing City services, and must comply with a variety of federal, state, and local contracting and procurement laws that contain equal opportunity and ADA-related requirements.
4.2 Self - Evaluation
The major laws governing the City of Beaverton are contained in the City Charter, the Municipal Code, and the Development Code. The City also has a variety of internal policy documents that govern the internal operations of the organization, such as the Employee Handbook, the Purchasing Procedures Manual, and the Accounts Payable and Purchase Order Procedures Manual. The following sub-sections provide a brief overview of City governance documents that require (or at least promote) ADA accessibility.
The Comprehensive Plan is the major policy document governing land use. The Engineering Design Manual is the major policy document governing work in the public right-of-way. These documents are discussed in more detail in Part 2 of the Transition Plan.
4.2.1 Municipal Code
The Municipal Code is the collection of the ordinances of the City of Beaverton. As new ordinances are passed by the City Council, the City Attorney is responsible for integrating them into the code.
The Building Code is the most significant chapter of the Municipal Code to reference the ADA. Beaverton adopted the 2012 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) as its building code in June 2013. The IBC includes provisions to make sure that public facilities are accessible to, and usable by, people with disabilities.
The Municipal Code also has provisions on maintaining sidewalks in the public right-ofway such that the sidewalks are held to a uniform standard. The Municipal Code generally places responsibility for maintaining safe sidewalks upon adjoining property owners. Complaints of unsafe sidewalks are referred to the City’s Code Compliance Program for investigation and resolution. The City has adopted a compliance-based Code Compliance program to work with Beaverton residents to comply with the Municipal Code. The City has a grant funding program to assist homeowners with the cost of repairing sidewalks that have been damaged by the roots of protected street trees. The grant pays up to half the cost of eligible repairs.
4.2.2 Employee Handbook
The Employee Handbook describes many internal city policies around employment. The Employee Handbook contains the City’s policies on Equal Employment Opportunity; Non-Discrimination; Harassment, Respectful Workplace; and Disability Accommodation. These policies are intended to ensure that the work environment is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. It also provides procedures for reporting, investigating, and resolving complaints.
4.2.3 Contracting and Procurement
The City of Beaverton is subject to a complex set of legal requirements for contracting and purchasing. Most of these have equity, nondiscrimination, and equal employment clauses that relate to ADA compliance. The City has contracts with several state agencies that have associated regulations and codes. In addition, the City has its own procurement and contracting policies and procedures. The Purchasing Procedures Manual, and the Accounts Payable and Purchase Order Procedures Manual, are the most significant internal policies and procedures that govern the City’s contracting and procurement activities.
4.3 Licensing and Permitting
4.3.1 ADA Standard
The City must ensure that its licensing and permitting procedures are accessible and do not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. Eligibility requirements must be directly related to the subject matter and not have the effect of excluding individuals on the basis of disability.
The City of Beaverton issues licenses and permits for businesses, construction, occupancy, and a variety of other matters. Most of the City’s permitting work is construction-related, with construction and building permits issued for residential, commercial, and public right-of-way projects. Inspections are required before projects are complete. The Community Development Department contains the Planning Division, the Building Division and the Site Development Division. These Divisions issue the permits and performs inspections associated with development-initiated projects. Final acceptance of public assets is performed by the Public Works Department. The following paragraphs concern improvements undertaken by private development.
The City’s permitting and inspection processes play an important role with making the improvements done on private property within Beaverton more accessible. People applying for permits must comply with building codes and site designs that include ADA requirements. The City also provides publications on construction and building code requirements, including a series of tip sheets that include information on ADA requirements for restrooms, doors, and parking spaces. Inspectors and plan reviewers must be knowledgeable about the ADA requirements so that they can effectively perform their permitting and inspection duties.
Under the City Code, Beaverton property owners are required to maintain sidewalks in a manner so as to not create an unreasonable risk to pedestrians. Code compliance officers (currently housed in the Beaverton Police Department) are often the first to hear about concerns with a sidewalk that has been closed and/or removed during construction.
Generally, employees from Community Development, Public Works or Code Compliance respond as quickly as they can to concerns about a sidewalk being closed or removed due to construction without adequate signage or alternate routes being provided. In many cases, employees are able to contact the property owner or contractor and resolve the matter. However, sometimes it is unclear as to which department is ultimately in charge of resolving these issues and that can lead to delays in resolving the issue.
4.3.3 Areas for Further Evaluation
- The Community Development Department and Public Works Department employees need to recognize the dispersion of responsibility for responding to complaints about blockages of the public right-of-way and discuss the best approach to maximize customer service and improve efficiency.
- The Community Development Department and the Public Works Department should develop a cohesive procedure to standardize employees’ responses and actions to complaints about blockages of the public right-of-way caused by construction projects.