Van Drew Measure Expediting Permits For Wheelchair Ramp Construction Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew to help residents expedite the construction of wheelchair ramps through a quicker application review process was approved today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

The bill, S-2331, would require an enforcing agency to either issue or deny a permit for construction of a wheelchair ramp within three business days. The bill would apply only to a wheelchair ramp of a one or two-unit residential dwelling where the ramp is required for a resident to access the dwelling.

“Often, residents who submit permit applications for wheelchair ramps have returned home from a hospital or have moved from another residence. It is unacceptable for anyone in either of these circumstances to have to wait weeks to get basic access to their home,” said Senator Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic. “This bill will require a quick three-day turnaround for permit applications, which will allow residents with limited mobility to begin the ramp construction process that much sooner.”

The purpose of the bill is to shorten the period of time a disabled resident spends waiting for a construction permit for a wheelchair ramp. Timing is especially important when a resident needs the wheelchair ramp for access to the dwelling. Quick turnaround is necessary for a resident confined to a wheelchair because without a ramp, a resident’s ability to enter and exit the dwelling is restricted when another means to take the resident’s wheelchair down stairs is not available. The current requirement that a permit be issued or denied within twenty business days would be unchanged for all other construction permits.

The committee approved the bill by a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the full Senate for a vote.