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"Reasonable Accommodation" ordinance will go into effect in March in Eureka

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EUREKA- At Tuesday night’s Eureka City Council meeting, officials adopted a new ordinance that will make it easier for developers or home builders to accommodate people with disabilities. 

At Tuesday night’s Eureka City Council meeting, after the second reading of the “Reasonable Accommodation Ordinance,” the ordinance was adopted.  It will allow developers and home builders to have certain zoning standards waived based on the intended use of the building and its occupants.  The same options will be applied to existing property owners.

"It provides the city flexibility to facilitate housing for persons with special needs and conditions.  It allows for us to look at the situation and reduce the standards based on the occupants, and that, in turn, will hopefully create more housing,"said Robert Wall, the City of Eureka Community Development Director.

The ordinance will go into effect March 20th.  It will also allow for accommodations to be made for disabled people that go beyond the standard ADA requirements.

"If the occupants have a condition to where let's say their fence needed to be higher than our six foot standard high fence, we could make that accommodation if there is a documented condition," Wall said.

Charles bean is a member of the Eureka Housing Authority Commission and an advocate for the disabled.  He is in favor of the ordinance.  He is confined to a wheelchair.

"You find a house, but it's so far off the bus lines, or not near any shopping.  So these types of developments could take place where we are creating housing near services that are needed by the disabled and the elderly," said Bean.

"We're not doing cookie cutter projects.  We can customize or look at a situation based on the occupants and not the zoning code.  We can actually think outside of the box for who actually is going to be using that structure," said Wall.

The City of Eureka Community Development Department will be in charge of reviewing each request for accommodations.