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AAB #C10 165 66-70 UnionSquare Somerville Update 9/2012

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AAB complaint submitted in 2010. AAB sends First Notice approximately 1 year later, after reminder by FOIA. CAPS re-surveys portions of complaint in September 2011 and amends complaint to reflect certain corrections made by owner as a result of the complaint. As of 9/28/2013, no further correspondence from AAB on this docket.

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AAB #C10 165 66-70 UnionSquare Somerville Update 9/2012

  1. 1. C10 165. Union Square Plaza Bldg. 66-70 Union Square, Somerville. Request to AMEND COMPLAINT. Submitted by email 9/11/12 p. 1 of 4 September 11, 2012 TO: Thomas Hopkins, Director Donald Lang, Chair MA DPS Architectural Access Board One Ashburton Place, room 1310 Boston, MA 02108-1618 RE: C10 165. AMENDMENTS TO COMPLAINT Union Square Plaza Building, 66-70 Union Square, Somerville MA1 Summary of requested Amendments: 1. Compliance achieved on 26.10.1 Please have owner submit proof that this new element also complies with 6.4 and 20.9. 2. DISMISS 26.4 (1987) in the owner's favor; 3. ADD 20.12.4 and 28.1. Dear Director Hopkins and Chair Lang, Thank you for serving the First Notice on this facility, dated July 25, 2012. As of this date, CAPS has not received any communications showing that the owner has responded to the First Notice. On September 6, 2012, I visited the facility and spoke with several tenants. Based on the changes made to this facility since November 2010, plus observations following receipt of First Notice, CAPS submits the following amendments and requests. We look forward to receiving a copy of the AAB's communications with the Owner regarding this submission. Thank you very much for revising the original complaint to update many code citations from 1987 to 2006 editions; and for combining the Parking Lot complaint with the Building Complaint. 1. Voluntary compliance achieved on 26.10.1 In August 2012)2 , the owner had work done to comply with this violation: 26.10.1. The threshold no longer exceeds 1/2" at the back door entrance. Compliance was achieved after First Notice served. 1 below, scan of filing information for this Complaint. 2 Tenants spontaneously verified that this work on the backdoor threshold had just been completed about two weeks ago.
  2. 2. C10 165. Union Square Plaza Bldg. 66-70 Union Square, Somerville. Request to AMEND COMPLAINT. Submitted by email 9/11/12 p. 2 of 4 • REQUEST: As with other voluntary compliance stipulations, please require that owner submit proof that this new threshold element complies with all the requirements at 521 CMR, including 6.4, Clear Floor Space for Wheelchairs; and 20.9, Accessible Route Cross Slope. below: 2 photos of new threshold apron at back (parking lot) accessible entrance: 2. CAPS requests DISMISSAL of 26.4 (1987) in favor of the owner. • 26.4 (1987) explanation: Although a newly constructed mezzanine level of one program on the first floor (story) of this building is not accessible by elevator, this code citation does not cover that issue. Please see 3 below re: 28.1. n addition, owner has good reason to lock the doors. On the day I visited, there was actually a bomb threat for this building. Also, at least one tenant has important safety considerations.
  3. 3. C10 165. Union Square Plaza Bldg. 66-70 Union Square, Somerville. Request to AMEND COMPLAINT. Submitted by email 9/11/12 p. 3 of 4 3. ADD 20.12.4 and 28.1. 20.12.4 Two-way Communication: A method of two-way communication, with both visible and audible signals, shall be provided between each area of rescue assistance and the primary entrance to the building. Complainant reports that the two-way intercoms at the primary and accessible entrances do not have visible signals. In addition, Blind users are provided no Braille instructions on how to reach inside staff. below photo: In Winter 2010/11, owner added a CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEPHONE. Visitors can use voice communication to obtain entry at the locked front or back entrances. • This device has no Braille instructions for Blind visitors. • This device does not have non-audible communications for Deaf and HOH visitors. • Please have owner submit proof that this device complies with all requirements of 521CMR, including the requirements of 521 CMR 6.00, Space Allowance and Zone of Reach. • There are often movable obstacles placed in front of the front entrance system. Please order owner to keep the space in front of the device clear at all times.
  4. 4. C10 165. Union Square Plaza Bldg. 66-70 Union Square, Somerville. Request to AMEND COMPLAINT. Submitted by email 9/11/12 p. 4 of 4 28.1 GENERAL In all multi-story buildings and facilities, each level including mezzanines, shall be served by a passenger elevator. Complainant states: in 2008/2009, Owner made structural changes to first and second stories, including addition of a MEZZANINE within the offices for a program located on the first floor. This program is City of Somerville-owned and HUD-funded. This mezzanine is only reachable by stairs and there are no ramps providing an interior accessible ramp in lieu of an elevator.3 • If the AAB has granted a Variance for this structural change (cost: ~$20K), please inform CAPS of this and omit this violation from the amendments submitted today. Thank you. Sincerely, Eileen Feldman, director on behalf of Community Access Project, Somerville 3 The original complaint named this violation as 35.1, accompanied by a photo (not reproduced again here). It looks like the AAB substituted 26.4 (1987) instead of 35.1(1987) in the 2012 First Notice . However, since the mezzanine was added after 2006, and since the violation involves the lack of access between the elevator and the mezzanine; and, not between the accessible entrance and the building elevator, we submit this amendment.