Center aids delay of fence project that could restrict ADA access for disabled in Anderson complex

01_28 resized Manzanita

Residents held a meeting in Anderson’s  Manzanita Apartment complex community room to discuss ADA access issues related to a 1-mile long, 8-foot high security fence. The issue will now go before the city’s planning commission for consideration of a use permit. (Dan Murphy photo)

Louise Swantek has her good days and bad days.

Swantek, a resident at USDA-funded Manzanita Hills Apartment complex on Spruce Street in Anderson, lives with Multiple Sclerosis. She reached out to Disability Action Center with concerns about a proposed 1-mile long , 8-foot high fence that property management wants to build for security and crime prevention reasons. Swantek said she’s concerned about  issues like daily ADA access and emergency evacuation in case of a wildfire.

Swantek has close to 100 signatures on a petition that was circulated among Manzanita residents opposed to the fence. They are asking for more access for the disabled. Swantek hosted a public meeting with residents in the complex’s community room to discuss the project with property management, who was shown the signatures on the petition. Management told the group they were going forward with the plan without changes, stating the fence will serve the most good to residents by providing safety from crime.

A previous fence, which was much smaller, allowed for direct access at more than one point to users of assistive technology devices like walkers, wheelchairs and power chairs. The new fence plan won’t.

“It’s a real hardship,” Swantek said.

Because of the size of the fence (over 6-feet high) a use permit is required to construct it in compliance with city codes. Property management is in the process of applying for the permit at city hall. City planning staff will write a staff report on the project, which will be forwarded to the planning commission, who will consider the use permit at a meeting in February or March. Their recommendation will be forwarded to the city council, who has final say on the plan.