FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECR
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2000(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA DEVELOPERS AND
ARCHITECT SUED FOR VIOLATING FAIR HOUSING ACT
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today sued the developers and architect of Breezewood Condominiums in Greenville, North Carolina who allegedly failed to construct accessible housing as required by the federal Fair Housing Act.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, charges William Dansey, Dawn Construction, Inc. and Hite/MSM, Inc. with violating the Fair Housing Act by failing to include certain features in the units which would make them accessible to persons with disabilities. All multi-family housing developments designed and constructed after March 1991 are affected by the Act. According to the Act, the features which must be included in multi-family developments include: accessible common areas; doors and hallways wide enough to allow wheelchair mobility throughout the unit; installation of electrical outlets, light switches and thermostats at accessible levels on walls; reinforced bathroom walls for the installation of grab bars; and bathrooms and kitchens which allow enough space to maneuver a wheelchair.
"Despite the passage of ten years since these requirements have become law, some builders have continued to design and construct multi-family housing that is inaccessible to persons with disabilities," said Bill Lann Lee, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "We will not hesitate to prosecute any architects and builders who do not comply with the Fair Housing Act and provide accessible housing."
The Justice Department's complaint alleges that Breezewood Condominiums has a total of 96 ground-floor units designed and built by the defendants which are inaccessible to persons in wheelchairs. The complaint alleges that the ground-floor units of the development violate almost every accessibility provision of the Act.
The Department of Justice initiated an investigation against William Dansey, Dawn Construction, and Hite/MSM after receiving a complaint from a local Fair Housing organization alleging Breezewood did not meet the requirements of the Act.