Marriott in hot water with people with disabilities

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According to this article in today's Hartford Courant, the new $81 million Marriott hotel, scheduled to open in August at Adriaen's Landing in Connecticut's capitol city, has some bathroom issues. It appears that its 17 handicapped-accessible guest rooms don't meet the state building codes because the sinks are too close to the toilets to make it feasible for someone in a wheelchair to use the commodes. It's a complicated scenario, according to the Courant, because the rooms do meet federal ADA guidelines. The development company is looking to get a waiver that would exclude it from compliance with the state code; local advocates for people with disabilities say, no way. A quick snip:

In February, [the state

Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities] denied an application by the hotel's

developers, Waterford Development LLC, to waive the section of the

state code that mandates that the distance between the wall on one side

of the toilet and the edge of the sink on the other be a minimum of 60

inches.

In paperwork filed with the state, Waterford says that

the bathrooms comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act

and is still hoping to get the waiver granted. A committee of the state

Department of Public Safety will hear an appeal on the matter today.

"That's what's at stake."

I really hate to see this kind of thing going on in the city where I was born and raised (well, in a nearby suburb, anyway). With the new convention center opening, and the Adriaen's Landing multiuse development, Hartford is finally turning into a meetings-friendly place that will be much more competitive with Providence and the other small Northeastern cities going after its market. I hope Waterford figures out a way to do the right thing and put this issue away once and for all. I understand that there are no easy answers, but it makes everyone involved look bad, and likely will draw protests and other negative attention to the hotel and to the city. Nobody wants that.

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