Application for Waiver for Soho Beach House
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Application for Waiver(s) for
The Waves Hotel in the Historic Lord Balfour Hotel Building 350 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, Florida 33139
GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP | ATTORNEYS AT LAW | WWW.GTLAW.COM
Waiver being sought • We are seeking a waiver from the requirement to provide vertical accessibility to the elevated (non-lobby) first floor as would be otherwise required by § 553.509, Fla. Stat. and 114.1.6(1)(f), FBC (2007).
Florida Statute • Fla. Stat. 553.512 provides: the Florida Building Commission shall provide by regulation criteria for granting individual modifications of, or exceptions from, the literal requirements of this part upon a determination of unnecessary, unreasonable, or extreme hardship…
Historic Preservation • 553.502 Intent.--The purpose and intent of this part is to incorporate into the law of this state the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. ss. 12101 et seq., and to obtain and maintain United States Department of Justice certification of the Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction as equivalent to federal standards for accessibility of buildings, structures, and facilities.... This part is not intended to expand or diminish the defenses available to a place of public accommodation or a commercial facility under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the standards, including, but not limited to, the readily achievable standard, and the standards applicable to alterations to private buildings or facilities as defined by the standards.
Historic Preservation (cont.) • If it is determined under the procedure set out in section [11-] 4.1.7 of appendix A that it is not feasible to provide physical access to an historic property that is a place of public accommodation in a manner that will not threaten or destroy the historic significance of the building or facility, alternative methods of access shall be provided pursuant to the requirements of subpart C of this part. 28 C.F.R. 36.405 Note: The relevant provisions of ADAAG 4.1.7 and FBC 11-4.1.7 are identical.
Technical infeasibility • EXCEPTION: In alteration work, if compliance with 4.1.6 is technically infeasible, the alteration shall provide accessibility to the maximum extent feasible… Technically infeasible. Means, with respect to an alteration of a building or a facility, that it has little likelihood of being accomplished because existing structural conditions would require removing or altering a load-bearing member which is an essential part of the structural frame; or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces, or features which are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements for new construction and which are necessary to provide accessibility.
The Project • The project consists of an existing 65 guest room historic three story hotel located at 350 Ocean Drive in the Ocean Beach Local Historic District District. • It is a qualified historic structure for the purposes of the ADA, ADAAG, and Florida Accessibility Code. (See letter from Thomas Mooney, Design and Preservation Manager for the City of Miami Beach, a certified local government).
The Project • The upper two levels contain hotel rooms. • The lobby is located at an accessible entrance level and the first floor, which contains guest rooms, is located several risers above the lobby level. • There is an existing elevator that provides access to the upper floors guest rooms. However, the elevator does not provide vertical accessibility to the first floor or basement level; and its door provides a 34” wide clear opening.
RELIEF SOUGHT • WAIVER REQUEST NUMBER 1: Waive the Florida requirement for a 36” wide clear opening at the elevator door (or in the alternative, waive the requirement to provide vertical accessibility from the lobby level to the second and third levels that contain hotel rooms). • There is an existing elevator but the door does not provide a 36” wide clear opening. It does however provide a 34” clear opening which is wider than the 32” clear opening required for most doors.
RELIEF SOUGHT • WAIVER NO. 1: HARDSHIP BASIS: • Enlarging elevator door would threaten or destroy the historic character … EXTREME AND UNREASONABLE HARDSHIP
RELIEF SOUGHT • WAIVER REQUEST NO. 2 -Waiver the requirement to provide vertical accessibility to the elevated first floor where guest rooms are located • WAIVER REQUEST NO. 3 - Waiver the requirement to provide vertical accessibility to the basement level
RELIEF SOUGHT • WAIVER REQUESTS NOS. 2 and 3 – Hardship basis • Technical infeasibility- a lift would encroach the required means of egress (in each case)
• EXTREME OR UNREASONABLE HARDSHIP
HARDSHIP BASIS- REQUESTS 2&3 • The stair to the raised first floor is 60 inches wide and is part of the historic lobby • The stair to the basement is 3 feet 10 inches wide and is located between 2 shear walls • Fire Marshal and building code require minimum 44 inches clear width for means of egress– which cannot be accomplish with a wheelchair lift • The Fire Marshal considers the encroachment into the clear width of a means of egress to be based on the encroachment of the lift when open and operating.
RELIEF REQUESTED • Since providing FBC fully-compliant vertical accessibility (elevator door clear opening) would threaten or destroy the historic character of the building, but would still provide a greater than 32 inch wide clear opening, we respectfully request that a waiver be granted allowing for the proposed project without enlarging the elevator door.
RELIEF REQUESTED • Since providing vertical accessibility to the raised first floor and basement levels is technically infeasible in that so providing would impermissibly encroach required means of egress, we respectfully request a waiver be granted from the requirement to provide vertical accessibility to the raised first floor and basement levels of the project.