ZBA Approves Resident's Request to Construct a Wheelchair Ramp

ZBA Approves Resident's Request to Construct a Wheelchair Ramp

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Zoning Board of Appeals approved the request for a Meridian Township Resident to build a wheelchair ramp at his home on Greenwood Drive with a vote of 3-2 on August 9th.

Resident, Alan Haddow, is quadriplegic and is planning to landscape his backyard, to become more wheelchair accessible.

In order for Haddow to begin construction, he had to request for a variance and seek approval from the board to waive the restrictions on Section 86-564 (b) of the Code of Ordinances.

The section states that “roofed or unroofed porches may project into a required side or rear yard a distance not to exceed eight feet.”

Haddow’s requested wheelchair ramp is planned to exceed more than the allowed eight feet in order for it to reach a concrete patio already built in the yard.

"I would be unable to utilize part of my yard if this ordinance is not approved," Haddow said.

During the hour-long discussion on the matter, the issue was not the variance, but of the ordinance criteria the board has to consider.

As board members noticed, the criteria looks more into deciphering whether a property is applicable to changes or additions in structure than at the applicant’s personal conditions.

“We are not really allowed to consider the disability component,” Chair Brian Beauchine said. “We are allowed to look at it, but we are not allowed to make a judgement on it . We need to make a judgement on really whether the variance has merit and meets our criteria.”

Township Board Representative Patricia Herring Jackson proposed the idea that there should be a future change in the ordinance criteria that takes into consideration those with disabilities.

At the end of the discussion, the motion was approved with a 3-2 vote.

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