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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    I am in PA. We own a building that when purchased was beside a metered public parking lot. The lot has since sold and the new owner wants to place a fence that will block access to our handicap ramp. I can not place the ramp anywhere else unless I make it steeper which would be against code. Can they do this since the ramp was already present or is there anyway they have to give us room to access the ramp. The fence will be right on the edge of their property so are we screwed? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,218

    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    Not 100% positive of the layout of the situation that would cause the problem you have.

    Are you saying your ramp was encroaching on the public lot and now, with the fence, you do not have access to the ramp? If so, how did you get permission to encroach on the public lot originally?

  3. #3
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    The ramp ends even with our building. There is approx 1 foot before the property line of the parking lot. The ramp was present when we purchased the building so not sure what permission or permit was used if any to place the ramp there. If they place the fence right at the property line, there will not be enough room or very little to squeeze in between the ramp and the fence. Definitely not enough for a wheelchair. Hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    We're talking about commercial buildings?

    Was a permit obtained for the original construction of the ramp?

    The ramp was built by whom, how many years ago?

  5. #5
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    Yes a commercial building. Not sure about the permit. Where do I find that out? Building is 18 yrs old and ramp was built along with the building so it's also 18 years old. Thanks

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    You find out about building permits from the government office that issues building permits. The office is usually given a name such as the "building department" or "construction and building services". If the ramp is part of the building, though, odds are it was part of the original plan.

    It looks like it takes 21 years to get a prescriptive easement in your state.

    Did the owner or developer that put up the building also own the parking lot next door at the time of construction?

  7. #7
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    Thank you.

    No, the owner did not own the lot. It was owned by a catholic church and they shared it with the boro who maintained the meters and I guess split the money with the church?? When we purchased the building, the lot was open to the public with the metered parking. Not really sure how it was set up between the church and the boro.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    permit records would be at the building department. If the ramp was built with the building, there should be a record of the original design on file (at least in most municipalities there will be) that includes the ramp.

    Did the municipality grant any sort of easement to allow the ramp to exit onto or be entered from the lot? (I doubt it as it was public property)

    I would suggest speaking with a local lawyer about claiming there is an implied easement, as long as the ramp was approved by the municipality as built.


    edit:

    whoops, the private ownership of the lot (by the Church) changes things. You need to research to see if there was any easement given by the Church to use their property to enter and exit the ramp. If there wasn't, you may have a real problem due to the time being less than required for a prescriptive easement.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    5

    Default Re: New Fence Will Block Access to My Handicap Ramp

    Thanks to everyone for the info.

    Did some online checking and found out the following. Not sure if it makes any difference or not. Building was originally built in 1950. It was redone, not from the ground up but after a fire approx 18 years ago. I call a couple old timers from town ( I am not originally from here ) and they remember it always having a ramp present in the current place where the ramp is now. Anyways, I'm going to try and talk to the owner and see if he will give me enough room to get in. The reason he is placing the fence is that people are still parking in the lot and his insurance wants the fence. By allowing me access, it should not stop his original purpose for the fence so hopefully it will be OK.

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