ADA Noncompliance Snags N. Adams Public Safety Building Repair Plans
Plans to repair the North Adams public safety building's porous roof have been put on hold over the building's lack of handicapped accessibility.
The Berkshire Eagle reports the state Architectural Access Board has rejected the city's request for a variance that would allow the project to go forward without also bringing the entire building up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
The city has appealed the board's decision and will make its case at a hearing in May.
Under current regulations, the city is required to bring the entire building into compliance with the ADA when it invests more than 30 percent of the building's overall value in renovations or repairs.
The building's failure to meet accessibility standards in numerous ways — for example, there is no wheelchair ramp into the police station section of the building — has long been a thorn in the side of city officials, who have, for years, highlighted the need for a new public safety building or substantial renovations to the current building.
The city filed an insurance claim and had repairs done to several sections of damaged ceiling in 2018, but it was not a holistic fix. The ceiling won't be replaced until the roof above it is repaired.
Last November, the City Council approved a $351,000 borrowing order to cover the replacement of the main section of the roof and two alternate sections.
For now, the regulatory snag is holding up those repairs. The condition of the building was one issue of concern raised during public interviews of finalists for the police chief position last week.