§ 4.550 Program accessibility: Existing facilities.
(a) General. The agency shall operate each program or activity so that the program or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by disabled persons. This paragraph does not—
(1) Necessarily require the agency to make each of its existing facilities accessible to and usable by disabled persons;
(2) In the case of historic preservation programs, require the agency to take any action that would result in a substantial impairment of significant historic features of an historic property; or
(3) Require the agency to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a program or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens. In those circumstances where agency personnel believe that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the program or activity or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, the agency has the burden of proving that compliance with § 4.550(a) would result in such alteration or burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such alteration or burdens must be made by the agency head or his or her designee after considering all agency resources available for use in the funding and operation of the conducted program or activity, and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If an action would result in such an alteration or such burdens, the agency shall take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens but would nevertheless ensure that disabled persons receive the benefits and services of the program or activity.
(b) Methods — (1) General. The agency may comply with the requirements of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of existing facilities and construction of new facilities, use of accessible rolling stock, or any other methods that result in making its programs or activities readily accessible to and usable by disabled persons. The agency is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with this section. The agency, in making alterations to existing buildings, shall meet accessibility requirements to the extent compelled by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4151 – 4157), and any regulations implementing it. In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirements of this section, the agency shall give priority to those methods that offer programs and activities to qualified disabled persons in the most integrated setting appropriate.
(2) Historic preservation programs. In meeting the requirements of § 4.550(a) in historic preservation programs, the agency shall give priority to methods that provide physical access to disabled persons. In cases where a physical alteration to an historic property is not required because of § 4.550(a)(2) or (a)(3), alternative methods of achieving program accessibility include—
(i) Using audio-visual materials and devices to depict those portions of an historic property that cannot otherwise be made accessible;
(ii) Assigning persons to guide disabled persons into or through portions of historic properties that cannot otherwise be made accessible; or
(iii) Adopting other innovative methods.
(c) Time period for compliance. The agency shall comply with the obligations established under this section by October 21, 1986, except that where structural changes in facilities are undertaken, such changes shall be made by August 22, 1989, but in any event as expeditiously as possible.
(d) Transition plan. In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, the agency shall develop, by February 23, 1987 a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. The agency shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including disabled persons or organizations representing disabled persons, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments (both oral and written). A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection. The plan shall, at a minimum—
(1) Identify physical obstacles in the agency's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to disabled persons;
(2) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;
(3) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and
(4) Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.
[77 FR 39904, Jul. 6, 2012]