January 30th Austin City Council amended the single family building code to include Visitability standards. Starting in July 2015 ALL new single family and duplex homes will have to have:
- a no step entrance (back, side, front or garage door);
- an accessible path through the first floor;
- a 32 inch clear bathroom or half bath on the the first floor and
- light switches, electric outlets and other environmental controls between 48″ and 15″ (the same as in public buildings and newer apartments.)
In 1998 Austin passed similar requirements for single family homes that were built with city assistance. Since then over 7,500 visitable homes have been built and only 10 waivers were needed. With such a successful track record, ADAPT, the Austin Mayor’s Committee and other disability groups felt it was time for the next phase. Many of the affordable housing developers also supported this effort. We are proud that Austin has taken this important stride toward integration and inclusion, and we are elated that persistence has paid off. We want to acknowledge and thank Eleanor Smith and Concrete Change for their leadership in the Visitability movement.