September 14, 1997

Mr. Anthony J. Mercantante

Planning Director, Middletown Twp.

One Kings Highway

Middletown, N. J. 07748

Dear Mr. Mercantante:

On August 25, 1997, I sent a letter to you and the other officials expressing my concerns about the inaction by township officials regarding accessibility requirements. I have received no response.

By clear contrast, I have already received three letters from Red Bank officials (enclosed) to whom I had sent a similar letter. Red Bank is taking some action, including setting up, with input from people with disabilities, an ADA committee.

In my letter to you I requested that the step at the new location of Middletown Pizza, which formerly was located with a level entrance, be required to be ramped. Middletown Pizza is open in the new location and is are not accessible. Where are our officials?

Similarly, the new Med WISE Center at 714 Highway 35, which I believe will be a service for senior citizens, has very obvious accessibility defects and violations. The ramp at the upper level is in the wrong location, far from the accessible parking, and, illegally, has no railings. It also appears steeper than the 1:12 maximum slope.

On the lower level, the accessible pathway is much too steep to the door. It is unclear whether the sidewalk to the door is considered a ramp, where the slope should be 1:12, or an accessible route, where, as noted in the publication that I sent to you by the U. S. Department of Justice, Common Errors and Omissions in New Construction and Alterations, the slope should not be greater than 1:20.

The lower, back route is even too steep for me to attempt to measure safely, but I suspect that the slope is no better than about 1:8. Certainly, it does not meet the 1:12 ramp requirement or the 1:20 sidewalk path requirement. Also, as seems to be common in Middletown curbcuts, the curbcuts were not flush and have been filled in with blacktop, which is dangerous and deteriorates.

Again, I ask, what information is being given to applicants when they submit their plans? The grant funds for the Junction include public funds. Are the "facade" changes only dedicated to cosmetics, like painting, etc., with no attention to the discriminatory inaccessible entrances? Why are Certificates of Occupancy apparently being given by Middletown to nonconforming construction?

I hope that you and your colleagues will be able to clarify your procedures for me. I have been patient for years, but the township can no longer plead ignorance as an excuse.


Carolyn Schwebel, Ed.D.

Co-chair, The Equalizers

(732) 291-4257


c: Mr. C. Naughton, Construction Official

Hon. Raymond J. O'Grady, Mayor

Mrs. Judith H. Stanley, Chair, Planning Board

Mr. Tom Uber, Investigator, DCA