S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
I N S E N A T E
February 10, 2010
Introduced by Sen. FOLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and
AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to the universal design
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Legislative intent and findings. The legislature hereby
finds that the availability of accessible housing opportunities is vital
to the safety and welfare of persons with limited mobility including
seniors and persons with either permanent or temporary physical disabil-
This act provides for a Universal Design Incentive (UDI) permit fee
structure and other benefits that reduce the cost and time needed to
create accessible and adaptable housing. An increase in the inventory of
such single and multi-family dwellings is needed to meet the needs of a
growing number of residents and visitors with disabilities and for those
who wish to retire in their own homes as is commonly referred to as the
ability to "age-in-place".
The legislature hereby provides this UDI legislation to stimulate the
development of adaptable and accessible housing by offering permits for
both new dwellings and for alterations to existing dwellings under an
incentive based fee structure with expedited application processing. The
UDI also provides for the exemption from certain dimensional (setback)
requirements for alterations to existing dwellings that are necessary to
create an accessible entryway. Further, the UDI provides for an
exemption from maximum floor area and lot coverage calculations for new
and substantially altered single family dwellings. This act is intended
to encourage and expedite the development of additional local housing
opportunities for independent living.
The legislature seeks to facilitate the alteration of existing homes
and the construction of new single and multi-family dwellings that are
accessible or may be readily made accessible for seniors and other
persons with limited mobility such as persons with disabilities.
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 6819 2
The legislature hereby finds that the inclusion of certain accessible
and adaptable dwelling design features into the construction of new
dwelling units as well as the alteration of existing dwelling units will
allow seniors and persons with disabilities greater opportunity to occu-
py or visit homes within New York state and, to age in place which
avoids the considerable cost to retirees, their families and often to
New York state for unnecessary and unwanted residencies in assisted
living or nursing care facilities.
Therefore, this act is necessary to expand the inventory of housing
opportunities that are defined as accessible or adaptable.
S 2. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 378-a to
read as follows:
S 378-A. UNIVERSAL DESIGN INCENTIVE. THE NEW YORK STATE UNIFORM FIRE
PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE SHALL CONTAIN THE PROVISIONS SET FORTH IN
1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING DEFINITIONS SHALL APPLY:
A. "ACCESSIBLE" MEANS A BUILDING OR PORTION THEREOF THAT CAN BE
APPROACHED, ENTERED AND USED BY PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES.
B. "ACCESSIBLE DOOR" MEANS A THIRTY-SIX INCH DOOR THAT WHEN HUNG IN
THE STANDARD MANNER PROVIDES A MINIMUM CLEARANCE OF THIRTY-TWO INCHES
WITH NO MORE THAN ONE-QUARTER INCH BEVELED THRESHOLDS AND EQUIPPED OR
EASILY REFITTED WITH LEVER-TYPE DOOR HANDLES.
C. "ADAPTABLE" MEANS LIVING SPACE WHICH MAY BE READILY CONVERTED WITH-
OUT DEMOLITION AND WITH MINIMAL EFFORT AND COST INTO LIVING SPACE THAT
D. "BATHROOM" MEANS A ROOM COMMONLY CONTAINING A TOILET, SINK, AND
EITHER A SHOWER, BATHTUB, COMBINATION BATHTUB/SHOWER, OR BOTH A SHOWER
AND A BATHTUB. THIS TERM SHALL INCLUDE A COMPARTMENTED BATHROOM IN WHICH
THE FIXTURES ARE DISTRIBUTED AMONG INTERCONNECTED ROOMS.
E. "BUILDING OFFICIAL" MEANS A PERSON DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY WHO
SHALL OVERSEE THAT THE PROVISIONS SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION ARE ADHERED
F. "COMMON USE ROOM" MEANS A ROOM COMMONLY USED BY RESIDENTS OR GUESTS
G. "DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS" MEANS ANY LOCAL ZONING ORDINANCES
GOVERNING THE SIZE OF ANY STRUCTURES ON A BUILDING LOT. THIS TERM SHALL
INCLUDE SETBACK REQUIREMENTS.
H. "DWELLING UNIT" MEANS ONE OR MORE ROOMS IN A BUILDING THAT ARE
ARRANGED, DESIGNED, USED OR INTENDED FOR USE BY ONE OR MORE FAMILIES.
I. "FLEX ROOM" MEANS A COMMON USE ROOM THAT CAN BE CONVERTED TO A
PRIVATE BEDROOM WITHOUT DEMOLITION, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THAT WHICH IS
REQUIRED FOR INSTALLING A DOOR IN AN EXISTING WALL OPENING. A FLEX ROOM
MUST MEET SUCH CODE REQUIREMENTS AS MAY BE ADOPTED FOR FUTURE USE AS A
BEDROOM INCLUDING EGRESS AND SMOKE DETECTION.
J. "KITCHEN" MEANS A ROOM USED FOR THE COOKING OR WARMING OF FOOD.
K. "LOT COVERAGE RESTRICTIONS" MEANS ANY LOCAL ZONING ORDINANCES
GOVERNING THE RATIO OF THE OCCUPIED AREA TO THE TOTAL AREA OF A BUILDING
LOT. THE OCCUPIED AREA REFERS TO THE AREA OF A BUILDING LOT WHICH IS
COVERED BY BUILDINGS, DRIVEWAYS AND OTHER STRUCTURES.
L. "POWDER ROOM" MEANS A ROOM CONTAINING A TOILET AND SINK, BUT NO
BATHTUB OR SHOWER. IT INCLUDES A COMPARTMENTED POWDER ROOM IN WHICH THE
FIXTURES ARE DISTRIBUTED AMONG INTERCONNECTED ROOMS.
M. "SETBACK REQUIREMENTS" MEANS ANY LOCAL ZONING ORDINANCES GOVERNING
HOW CLOSE TO A PROPERTY LINE ANY BUILDING MAY BE BUILT.
N. "UNIVERSAL DESIGN INCENTIVE" MEANS THE FEE REDUCTIONS SET FORTH IN
SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION.
S. 6819 3
2. THE SECRETARY SHALL GRANT SUCH NEW BUILDING OR BUILDING ALTERATION
PERMIT FEE REDUCTIONS AS HE OR SHE DEEMS SUFFICIENT TO ENCOURAGE THE
EXPEDITED DEVELOPMENT OF NEW DWELLING UNITS OR THE SUBSTANTIAL ALTER-
ATION OF EXISTING SINGLE AND MULTI-FAMILY DWELLING UNITS THAT ARE TO BE
ACCESSIBLE OR ADAPTABLE TO PERSONS WITH EITHER TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT
3. TO QUALIFY FOR THE UNIVERSAL DESIGN INCENTIVE, APPLICATIONS FOR NEW
OR SUBSTANTIALLY ALTERED EXISTING SINGLE OR MULTI-FAMILY DWELLING UNITS
SHALL CONTAIN AN:
A. ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCEWAY AND ACCESSIBLE INTERNAL ROUTE OF TRAVEL.
(I) ONE UNOBSTRUCTED WALKWAY OF AT LEAST THIRTY-SIX INCHES IN WIDTH
WITH AN APPROACH SLOPE OF NOT MORE THAN 1CONSUMER PROTECTION FROM THE
DRIVEWAY OR PUBLIC SIDEWALK TO THE ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCEWAY;
(II) ONE STEP-FREE ENTRY AT ANY OPENING OF THE DWELLING (FRONT, BACK,
SIDE, GARAGE) THAT IS IDENTIFIED AS THE ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCEWAY;
(III) ALL EXTERIOR HINGED DOORS TO BE ACCESSIBLE DOORS WITH A MINIMUM
OF THIRTY-TWO INCH INTERNAL CLEARANCE AND WITH NO MORE THAN ONE-QUARTER
INCH BEVELED THRESHOLDS AND EQUIPPED OR EASILY REFITTED WITH LEVER-TYPE
(IV) ALL INTERIOR HINGED DOORS WITH LANDINGS TO BE A MINIMUM OF THIR-
TY-SIX INCHES WIDE (THIRTY-TWO INCH INTERNAL CLEARANCE) WITH NO MORE
THAN ONE-QUARTER INCH BEVELED THRESHOLDS AND EQUIPPED OR EASILY REFITTED
WITH LEVER-TYPE DOOR HANDLES;
(V) ONE DEDICATED POWER SOURCE AT ALL INTERIOR STAIRS LEADING TO HABI-
TABLE SPACE FOR POSSIBLE FUTURE CHAIR LIFT INSTALLATION; AND
(VI) AN ACCESSIBLE ROUTE CONNECTING THE ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCEWAY WITH
ALL ACCESSIBLE DWELLING SPACE, INCLUDING THE ACCESSIBLE POWDER ROOM,
BATHROOM, KITCHEN, FLEX ROOM OR BEDROOM AND OTHER COMMON USE ROOMS ON
THE ACCESSIBLE LEVEL OF THE DWELLING.
B. ACCESSIBLE BEDROOM OR FLEX ROOM ON THE GROUND/FIRST FLOOR OF DWELL-
ING. THIS REQUIRES:
(I) ONE ACCESSIBLE BEDROOM ON THE GROUND/FIRST FLOOR; OR
(II) ONE FLEX ROOM ON THE GROUND/FIRST FLOOR. A FLOOR PLAN DESIGN
SHALL DEMONSTRATE HOW A COMMON USE ROOM CAN BE CONVERTED INTO A PRIVATE
BEDROOM WITHOUT DEMOLITION, EXCEPT FOR THAT WHICH IS REQUIRED FOR
INSTALLATION OF A DOOR IN AN EXISTING WALL OPENING.
C. ACCESSIBLE OR ADAPTABLE KITCHEN. THIS REQUIRES:
(I) ONE ACCESSIBLE OR ADAPTABLE KITCHEN; OR
(II) AS DEFINED BY THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A KITCHEN THAT PROVIDES
ADEQUATE WHEELCHAIR ACCESS AND CIRCULATION WITH ACCESSIBLE LIGHT, VENT,
OVEN AND STOVETOP CONTROLS AS WELL AS BREAKAWAY CABINETRY UNDER THE SINK
FOR EASE OF FUTURE MODIFICATION FOR WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBILITY.
D. ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM OR ADAPTABLE POWDER ROOM ON THE GROUND/FIRST
FLOOR. THIS REQUIRES:
(I) AN INTERIOR SIXTY INCH CLEAR TURNING RADIUS;
(II) A WALL BLOCKING FOR FUTURE GRAB BARS;
(III) FAUCETS TO BE LEVER-TYPE AND PREFERABLY SINGLE LEVER OR ARE
EASILY REFITTED AS SUCH; AND
(A) A STEP-FREE TUB OR ROLL-IN SHOWER WITH WALL BLOCKING AND GRAB
(B) SUFFICIENT SPACE FOR FUTURE ACCESSIBLE SHOWER OR ACCESSIBLE BATH
THAT DOES NOT ENCROACH ON THE REQUIRED SIXTY INCH TURNING RADIUS.
ADAPTABLE PLUMBING SHALL BE PROVIDED FOR THE FUTURE INSTALLATION OF A
S. 6819 4
STEP-FREE TUB OR ROLL-IN SHOWER, BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR AND WALLS AND
CAPPED-OFF FOR FUTURE USE.
4. A. AN EXEMPTION FROM ANY SETBACK REQUIREMENTS SHALL BE GRANTED FOR
ANY ALTERATIONS, SUCH AS AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT-COMPLIANT
WHEELCHAIR RAMPS, FOR EXISTING DWELLINGS THAT PROVIDE ONE ACCESSIBLE
ENTRYWAY FOR PERSONS WITH QUALIFYING DISABILITIES.
B. SUCH EXEMPTION SHALL BE GRANTED ONLY WHEN THE BUILDING OFFICIAL
DETERMINES THAT NO PRACTICAL AND CONFORMING ACCESSIBLE PATHWAY TO ANY
C. SUCH EXEMPTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY HISTORIC AND/OR CULTURAL
PLACE OR PROPERTY OR ANY REGISTERED PROPERTY AS THOSE TERMS ARE DEFINED
BY SECTION SIXTY-ONE OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS LAW, OR ANY HISTORIC
DISTRICT AS DEFINED BY SECTION ONE HUNDRED NINETEEN-BB OF THE GENERAL
MUNICIPAL LAW; PROVIDED, HOWEVER THAT EXEMPTIONS FOR SUCH PROPERTIES MAY
BE AUTHORIZED BY THE BUILDING OFFICIAL UPON REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF THE
NEW YORK STATE COMMISSIONER OF PARKS, RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVA-
5. EXEMPTIONS FROM CERTAIN DIMENSIONAL REGULATIONS AND LOT COVERAGE
RESTRICTIONS FOR THE MINIMUM ADDITIONAL LIVING AREA REQUIRED SHALL BE
GRANTED TO PROVIDE:
A. ONE ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM OR ADAPTABLE BATHROOM THAT IS ACCESSED FROM
THE ACCESSIBLE GROUND/FIRST FLOOR LIVING AREA AND FROM BOTH THE ACCESSI-
BLE ENTRYWAY OF THE DWELLING UNIT AND THE ACCESSIBLE INTERIOR ROUTE OF
B. ONE ACCESSIBLE BEDROOM OR FLEX ROOM WHICH IS ACCESSED FROM THE
ACCESSIBLE GROUND/FIRST FLOOR LIVING AREA AND FROM THE ACCESSIBLE ENTRY-
WAY OF THE DWELLING UNIT AND THE ACCESSIBLE INTERIOR ROUTE OF TRAVEL.
6. A. AN EXEMPTION OF FIFTY SQUARE FEET FROM DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS
(INCLUDING BUILDING SETBACK REQUIREMENTS) AND LOT COVERAGE RESTRICTIONS
SHALL BE GRANTED FOR ANY LIVING AREA WHICH EQUALS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THAT WHICH IS NEEDED TO CONSTRUCT A MINIMUM SIZED POWDER ROOM AND AN
ADAPTABLE OR ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM.
B. AN EXEMPTION OF ONE HUNDRED SQUARE FEET FROM DIMENSIONAL REQUIRE-
MENTS (INCLUDING BUILDING SETBACK REQUIREMENTS) AND LOT COVERAGE
RESTRICTIONS SHALL BE GRANTED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF ANY ADDITIONAL
LIVING AREA ON THE GROUND/FIRST FLOOR THAT CAN BE IDENTIFIED BY THE
BUILDING OFFICIAL AS A 10'X10' ACCESSIBLE BEDROOM OR FLEX ROOM. THE
ACCESSIBLE BEDROOM OR FLEX ROOM SHALL NOT PRECLUDE THE CONTINUED USE OF
GROUND/FIRST FLOOR LIVING AREAS CUSTOMARILY KNOWN AS THE LIVING, DINING
OR KITCHEN COMMON USE AREAS.
C. TO QUALIFY FOR THE EXEMPTION SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH B OF THIS
SUBDIVISION, APPLICANTS MUST APPLY CONCURRENTLY FOR THE EXEMPTION SET
FORTH IN PARAGRAPH A OF THIS SUBDIVISION.
D. PURSUANT TO THE EXEMPTIONS SET FORTH IN THIS SUBDIVISION, FRONT AND
REAR EXTERIOR WALLS MAY ENCROACH INTO MINIMUM BUILDING SETBACK LINES BY
A MAXIMUM OF FIVE FEET FOR A TOTAL OF ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SQUARE FEET WHEN
BOTH A GROUND FLOOR ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM AND FLEX ROOM ARE INCORPORATED
INTO THE PLAN DOCUMENTS AND APPROVED BY THE BUILDING OFFICIAL.
7. ANY EXEMPTIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE APPLIED TO
ANY NEW OR SUBSTANTIALLY RENOVATED DWELLING UNITS THAT ARE OTHERWISE
REQUIRED TO BE ACCESSIBLE PURSUANT TO ANY OTHER NEW YORK STATE OR LOCAL
LAW OR REGULATION INCLUDING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT.
8. ANY EXEMPTIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE APPLIED TO
BUILDING APPLICATIONS FOR DWELLING UNITS OVER TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED
S. 6819 5
9. EXEMPTION FROM DIMENSIONAL AND LOT COVERAGE REQUIREMENTS SHALL NOT
APPLY TO PRE-EXISTING NON-CONFORMING DWELLING UNITS AND NON-CONFORMING
LOTS UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE LOCAL ZONING APPEALS OFFICER. SUCH APPLI-
CATIONS SHALL BE CONSIDERED WITHOUT CHARGE BY SUCH AGENT.
10. APPLICATION FEES MAY BE REDUCED FOR APPLICATIONS TO ALTER EXISTING
DWELLING UNITS THAT DEMONSTRATE TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE BUILDING
OFFICIAL THAT COMPLIANCE WITH THE FOUR REQUIREMENTS SET FORTH IN SUBDI-
VISION THREE OF THIS SECTION IS IMPRACTICABLE DUE TO CONSTRAINTS WHICH
ARE NOT SELF-IMPOSED.
S 3. This act shall take effect January 1, 2011; provided, however,
that effective immediately, the department of state may prescribe such
rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of