WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a comprehensive settlement agreement with the town of Gretna, Va., under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to eliminate barriers for providers of foster care services who wish to provide community placements in their homes for persons with disabilities. Under the agreement, the town has agreed to adopt and implement policies, practices and procedures to ensure nondiscriminatory zoning practices that might otherwise limit such community placements.
The settlement agreement resolves allegations that Gretna violated title II of the ADA when it denied a special use permit to a resident because she wanted to provide foster-care type services in her home to two adults with mental retardation. The arrangement was to be coordinated and overseen by a private non-profit agency that places individuals with cognitive and developmental disabilities in private homes in conjunction with federal Medicaid funds and state programs and funds designated for such purposes.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the town will implement a training program for town officials involved in zoning decisions regarding Gretna’s obligations under title II of the ADA. The town will report to the Justice Department on future land use decisions involving individuals with disabilities or persons providing services for such individuals. The town has also agreed to pay $60,000 in damages to the complainant.
"The integration of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of social and civic life, consistent with the mandate of the Supreme Court in the landmark Olmstead v. L.C. decision, is a priority of the Civil Rights Division," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously pursue zoning discrimination to ensure that individuals with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to participate in all facets of their communities."
The ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in all activities of state and local government entities, including zoning and land use decisions. Those interested in finding out more about federal disability rights statutes can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.