Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5372

Public Act No. 10-56

AN ACT CONCERNING VISITABLE HOUSING.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 29-269 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

(a) The State Building Inspector and the Codes and Standards Committee shall revise the State Building Code to be in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 USC 12101 and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, as amended, 42 USC 3600. The provisions of this subsection and the State Building Code as from time to time revised pursuant to this section shall control the design, construction and arrangement of all buildings and building elements, constructed under permits issued on or after October 1, 1975, and all buildings or building elements constructed or substantially renovated by the state, any municipality or any other political subdivision of the state, the architectural design of which was commenced on or after October 1, 1977, except buildings which have been approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as being in conformance with federal standards for housing for the elderly and physically handicapped and for which a permit was issued prior to June 9, 1976, to ensure accessibility thereto and use by the physically handicapped.

(b) Any variation of or exemption from any provision of (1) the State Building Code relating to accessibility to, and use of, buildings and structures by persons with disabilities, (2) subsection (g) of section 14-253a, (3) section 29-273, or (4) section 29-274, shall be permitted only when approved by the State Building Inspector and the director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities acting jointly. Any person, agent of the state, municipality or any other political subdivision of the state may apply to the State Building Inspector to vary or set aside standards incorporated in the State Building Code pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. The State Building Inspector, within seven days of receipt of any such application, shall forward a copy of such application to said director, who shall, within thirty days of receipt, review the application, and acting jointly with the State Building Inspector, render a decision to accept or reject the application in whole or in part. The State Building Inspector and said director may approve a variation of or exemption from any such standard or specification when they jointly determine that it would not be feasible or would unreasonably complicate the construction, alteration or repair in question. Such determination shall be in writing, shall state the reasons therefor and if it sets aside any such standard or specification, a copy of such determination shall be sent to said director. Any person aggrieved by any such decision may appeal to the Codes and Standards Committee within thirty days after such decision has been rendered.

(c) Regulations or codes made or amended by authority of this section shall, after a public hearing called for that purpose by the State Building Inspector not less than thirty days before the date of such hearing, be filed by the State Building Inspector with the Secretary of the State in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 and he shall thereafter make copies available to persons having an interest therein.

(d) If any regulation is set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction, such ruling shall affect only the regulation, standard or specification included in the ruling and all other regulations, standards or specifications shall remain in effect.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a variation or exemption from the State Building Code shall not be required to construct a visitable feature in a residential home. For purposes of this section, "visitable feature" means (1) interior doorways that provide a minimum thirty-two inch wide unobstructed opening, (2) an accessible means of egress, as defined in Appendix A to 28 C.F.R. Part 36, or (3) a full or half bathroom on the first floor that is compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 USC 12101.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2010) (a) For purposes of this section, "visitable housing" means one-to-four family residential construction that includes three basic architectural features to allow persons with disabilities to easily visit: (1) Interior doorways that provide a minimum thirty-two inch wide unobstructed opening, (2) an accessible means of egress, as defined in Appendix A to 28 C. F. R. Part 36, and (3) a full or half bathroom on the first floor that is compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 USC 12101.

(b) The Department of Economic and Community Development, in consultation with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, may establish a program to encourage the development of visitable housing in the state. The program shall (1) provide a single point of contact for any person seeking financial or technical assistance from the state to construct visitable housing, (2) identify financial incentives for developers who construct visitable housing, and (3) include public education about such housing. The department shall submit a report on the status of the program, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to housing not later than October 1, 2012.

(c) The Department of Economic and Community Development shall establish, within available appropriations, an informational web page in a conspicuous place on such department's Internet web site with a list of links to available visitable housing resources.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2010, and applicable to assessment years commencing on or after said date) As used in this section, "visitable housing" means one-to-four family residential construction that includes three basic architectural features to allow persons with disabilities to easily visit: (1) Interior doorways that provide a minimum thirty-two inch wide unobstructed opening, (2) an accessible means of egress to a home, as defined in Appendix A to 28 C. F. R. Part 36, and (3) a full or half bathroom on the first floor that is compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 USC 12101. Any municipality may, by ordinance adopted by its legislative body, provide property tax abatements to developers of visitable housing.

Approved May 18, 2010