DDMAs mission is simple:
To empower & advocate for our Members with knowledge, energy, & respect.
Some people think that only new construction and alterations need to be accessible and that older facilities are “grandfathered,” but that’s not true. Because the Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law and not a building code, older facilities are often required to be accessible to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate.
The law also states that owners have an ongoing obligation to remove architectural barriers that hinder access by individuals with disabilities. And the first barrier that should be removed is providing correct parking and access from sidewalks, parking, or public transportation into the facility.
We are dedicated to removing the barriers to accessibility that keep people with disabilities from being able to fully access and use public accommodations in their communities.
Our approach to barrier removal is straightforward and fair
We receive a complaint from one of our Members who cannot fully access a place of public accommodation. The barriers may vary from external problems, like no accessible route to get inside the location, to internal ones like the bathroom(s) being unusable for people in wheelchairs.
DDMA reviews the complaint, surveys the location, and confirms whether the allegation(s) is a probable violation under the ADA's Accessibility Guidelines, the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS), and/or Section 121.004 of the Texas Human Resource Code.
Next, we send the property owner a notice letter pointing out the deficiencies and requesting they have a knowledgeable professional such as a Registered Accessibility Specialist survey their property and come up with a plan for barrier removal to improve accessibility at the location.
Our letter includes information about a tax credit for small businesses of up to $5,000 and a tax deduction for all businesses of $15,000 to offset barrier removal costs as well as a link to the ADA Business Primer that lays out the requirements under both the 2010 & 1991 ADA Standards.
We end with a request for the owner to respond to us in writing no later than the 60th day from receiving our notice letter to let us know what concrete steps have been taken to improve accessibility at their property.
We Trust, but Verify
DDMA trusts owners to make a good faith effort to devise and initiate a quality barrier removal and remediation plan on the property in question. We understand that removing some barriers to accessibility may not be readily achievable due to architectural constraints or undue burden.
Larger-scale barrier removal may not be feasible to do all at once either. That is why we recommend hiring a professional to draft an ADA Review Plan that can be systematically completed over time to fit in the budget and take full advantage of annual tax breaks.
With DDMA Member assistance, we will monitor the location throughout the remediation process until the barrier removal is verified as being complete.