HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Curb ramps are on almost every block and school campus that receives federal dollars, but you may be hard pressed to find one on some private property. 12 On Your Side checked out a Henrico man's complaint, and has information that may surprise you.
Meredith Garnett says he assumed his townhouse development had curb ramps. It doesn't, and there's nothing legally he can do to make them install them.
The slope of a curb ramp gives the handicapped easier access from the street to the sidewalk, but even people without disabilities use them. Curbs cause problems for strollers and shopping carts and wheelchairs.
With two artificial hips and osteoarthritis, Meredith Garnett power walks his wheelchair over a grassy hill to the curb and drops.
"Getting back onto the property is an odyssey through the complex parking lot," he said. "I have to go all the way up to apartment a 20."
There he found a break in the curb, where too much asphalt was accidentally installed.
"It's almost even with the curb," Meredith said.
The property manager and Foxhill Homeowners Association say he was aware of conditions when he moved in, and he also renewed his lease.
"I thought after I told her about it she would investigate ways of making it easier for me to get in and out," he said.
Meredith says he thought the American with Disabilities Act required all properties have curb ramps. His townhome on Gray Fox Circle is privately owned. Only properties receiving government money have to be handicap accessible says the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy.
"A tenant must be allowed to make modifications to make their property accessible. But it's all at the tenant's expense again of removing the modifications when the tenancy ends," said Colleen Miller with the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy.
"Just put in one little ramp from the street there so I can ride straight up on the sidewalk," Meredith said. "A lot of times I want to go out but I don't want to fool with the chair."
The Foxhill Homeowners Association says Meredith didn't formally bring his problem to the association. When he does, it may consider ways of helping. Property owner, Florence Freeman who lives in Maryland, isn't returning our calls.