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Requests for Accommodation Procedure

Boynton Beach, Florida Code of Ordinances > PART III  LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS > CHAPTER 2.  LAND DEVELOPMENT PROCESS > ARTICLE II.  PLANNING AND ZONING DIVISION SERVICES > Sec. 4.   Relief Applications

F.  Requests for Accommodation.

1.   General.

a.  Purpose and Intent. The purpose of this section is to implement a procedure for processing requests for reasonable accommodation to the city's Code of Ordinances, Land Development Regulations, rules, policies, and procedures for persons with disabilities as provided by the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S.C. 3601. et. seq.) ("FHA") and/or Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (42 U.S.C. Section 12131, et. seq.) ("ADA").

b.  Applicability.  Any person who is disabled, or qualifying entities, may request a reasonable accommodation with respect to the city's Land Development Regulations, Code of Ordinances, rules, policies, practices and/or procedures as provided by the FHA and the ADA pursuant to the procedures set out in this section. For purposes of this section, a "disabled person" is an individual that qualifies as disabled and/or handicapped under the FHA and/or ADA. The word "individual" shall include, for purposes of this section, multiple people, or qualified entities.

c.  Notice to the Public of Availability of Accommodation. The city shall endeavor to provide notice to the public, advising that a disabled person may request a reasonable accommodation. Such notice may include, but is not limited to, displaying a notice in the city's public notice bulletin board and to maintain copies available for review in the Planning and Zoning Division, the Building Division, and the City Clerk's Office upon request, and advising that the public disabled person may request a reasonable accommodation as provided herein.

2. Submittal Requirements. A request by an applicant for reasonable accommodation under this section shall be either oral or written. A written request may be submitted by completion of a reasonable accommodation request form, which form is maintained by (and shall be submitted to) the Planning and Zoning (“P and Z”) Division of the Department of Development or other designee. The reasonable accommodation form shall contain such questions and requests for information as are necessary for processing the reasonable accommodation request. The reasonable accommodation request form shall be substantially in the form set forth in Subsection 3. below. The following considerations shall be applicable for any application, information or documentation required:

a. Confidential Information. Should the information submitted by the disabled person to the city include medical information or records, including records indicating the medical condition, diagnosis, or medical history of the disabled person, such disabled person may, at the time of submitting such medical information, request that the city, to the extent allowed by law, treat such medical information as confidential information of the disabled person The city shall thereafter endeavor to provide written notice to the disabled person and/or their representative, of any request received by the city for disclosure of the medical information or documentation which the disabled person has previously requested be treated as confidential by the city. The city will cooperate with the disabled person to the extent allowed by law, in actions initiated by such disabled person, to oppose the disclosure of such medical information or documentation, but the city shall have no obligation to initiate, prosecute or pursue any such action, or to incur any legal or other expenses (whether by retention of outside counsel or allocation of internal resources) in connection therewith, and may comply with any judicial order without prior notice to the disabled person. This section shall be subject to local, state, and federal revisions to privacy laws, including but not limited to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as it may be amended from time to time.

b. Address of Applicant/Address of Housing. Unless governed by 42 USC § 290dd, in which case the address shall not be required, the applicant may be requested to provide documentation to substantiate a claim for verifying applicability.

c. Fee. There shall be no fee imposed by the city in connection with a request for reasonable accommodation under this section or an appeal of a determination on such request to the City Commission, and the city shall have no obligation to pay a requesting party's, or an appealing party's, as applicable, attorneys' fees or costs in connection with the request, or an appeal.

d. City Assistance. The city shall provide such assistance and accommodation as is required pursuant to FHA and ADA in connection with a disabled person's request for reasonable accommodation, including, without limitation, assistance with reading application questions, responding to questions, completing the form, filing an appeal, and appearing at a hearing, to ensure the process is accessible.

e. Findings for Reasonable Accommodation.

(1) In determining whether the reasonable accommodation request shall be granted or denied, the requesting party shall be required to establish that they are protected under the FHA and/or ADA by demonstrating that they are handicapped or disabled, as defined in the FHA and/or ADA. Although the definition of disability is subject to judicial interpretation, for purposes of this section the disabled individual must show:

(i) A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;

(ii) A record of having such impairment; or

(iii) That they are regarded as having such impairment.

(2) The requesting party will then have to demonstrate that the proposed accommodations sought by the requesting party are reasonable and necessary to afford handicapped and/or disabled persons equal opportunity to use and enjoy housing.

(3) The foregoing (as judicially interpreted) shall be the basis for a decision upon a reasonable accommodation request made by the applicant to the Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee, or by the Building Board of Adjustment and Appeals in the event of an appeal.

f.  Action by Appropriate City Official. A written determination shall be issued by the Planning Director, or his or her designee. within forty-five (45) days of receipt of an application determined to be sufficient.

(1) If reasonably necessary to reach a determination on the request for reasonable accommodation, the Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee, may, prior to the end of said forty-five (45) day period, request additional information from the requesting party, specifying in sufficient detail what information is required.

(2) The requesting party shall have fifteen (15) days after the date of the request for additional information to provide the requested information. In the event a request for additional information is made, the forty-five (45) day period to issue a written determination shall no longer be applicable, and the Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee, shall issue a written determination within thirty (30) days after receipt of the additional information.

(3) If the requesting party fails to provide the requested additional information within said fifteen (15) day period, the Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee, shall issue a written notice advising that the requesting party had failed to timely submit the additional information and therefore the request for reasonable accommodation shall be deemed abandoned and/or withdrawn and no further action by the city with regard to said reasonable accommodation request shall be required.

g.  Notice of Proposed Decision. The Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee, shall have the authority to consider and act on requests for reasonable accommodation. When a reasonable accommodation request form has been completed and submitted to the Planning and Zoning Division, it will be referred to the Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee, for review and consideration. The Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee, shall issue a written determination within forty-five (45) days of the date of receipt of a completed application and may, in accordance with federal law:

(1) Grant the accommodation request;

(2) Grant a portion of the request and deny a portion of the request, and/or impose conditions upon the grant of the request; or

(3) Deny the request, in accordance with federal law.

Any such denial shall be in writing and shall state the grounds therefore. All written determinations shall give notice of the right to appeal to the Building Board of Adjustment and Appeals. The notice of determination shall be sent to the requesting party, i.e. the disabled individual or his/her representative, by certified mail, return receipt requested.

h.  Appeal. Within thirty (30) days after the Planning and Zoning Director, or his/her designee's, determination on a reasonable accommodation request is mailed to the requesting party, such applicant may appeal the decision. All appeals shall contain a statement containing sufficient detail of the grounds for the appeal. Appeals shall be to the Building Board of Adjustment and Appeals which shall, after public notice to the parties and a public hearing for appeal, render a written determination as soon as reasonably practicable, but in no event later than sixty (60) days after an appeal has been filed. The decision of the Building Board of Adjustment and Appeals shall be a final determination, subject only to appeal by petition of certiorari to the Fifteenth (15th) Judicial Circuit Court, pursuant to all applicable local and state laws and standards governing petitions for certiorari.

i.  Stay of Enforcement. While an application for reasonable accommodation, or an appeal of a determination of same, is pending before the city, the city will not enforce the subject zoning ordinance, rules, policies, and procedures against the applicant.

3. Request Form for Reasonable Accommodation.

a.  Contents of Reasonable Accommodation Request Form. The contents of a reasonable accommodation request form shall contain the following items, to the extent provided by law:

(1) Name and contact information of the applicant;

(2) Description of property at which reasonable accommodation is requested, including the address of such location;

(3) Description of the accommodation and the specific regulation(s) and/or procedure(s) from which accommodation is sought;

(4) Reasons the accommodation may be necessary for the applicant or the individuals with disabilities seeking the specific accommodation, and if relating to housing, why the requested reasonable accommodation is necessary to use and enjoy the housing;

(5) Description of the qualifying disability or handicap;

(6) Other relevant information pertaining to the disability or property that may be needed bv the city in order for it to be able to evaluate the request for reasonable accommodation;

(7) Signature of applicant;

(8) Date of application.

4. Expiration of Approvals.  Approvals of requests for reasonable accommodation shall expire within one hundred eighty (180) days if not implemented.