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Public Rights Division


ADA Guide to City Facilities

 City of Santa Monica staff strive to include everyone at public facilities. Here are answers to some common questions that arise at   City facilities regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 Q: What types of animals are allowed in City facilities?

 A: Service animals, which are individually trained to perform specific tasks for persons with disabilities, are allowed in City facilities under the ADA. Emotional support animals (ESAs) are not covered by the ADA and are not allowed (persons with disabilities can have ESAs in their homes under fair housing laws).  

 Q: What questions can City staff ask about an animal in a public facility?    

 A: City staff can ask patrons two questions:  1) Whether the patron has a service animal required because of a disability; and 2) What task the animal is trained to perform. 

 Q: What if other patrons are allergic to, or afraid of, a service animal?

 A: A person with a service animal can only be asked to remove it if the animal is out of control or if it is not housebroken. If a person with allergies objects to the presence of a service animal, they both can be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility. 

 Q: Can City facilities put limits on personal belongings brought in by patrons?

 A:   City facilities can post limits on the number and size of items brought into a facility and enforce the limits for all patrons. Exceptions can be made for individual personal items that are directly related to a disability, such as mobility devices or oxygen tanks   

 Q: What determines whether an accommodation is reasonable?    

 A:   Accommodations are deemed reasonable if they don't pose an undue financial or administrative hardship. City staff make every effort to make accommodations for persons with disabilities.    

 Q: What if patrons deem available accommodations to be insufficient?    

 A:  Patrons who request accommodations in advance can propose alternatives. The alternative accommodation will be provided if it doesn't pose an undue burden. 

 Q: What if a person with a disability needs assistance in the restroom from a person with a different gender?    

 A:   In California, single-stall bathrooms are gender-neutral. For multi-stall bathrooms, a caregiver can enter a bathroom designated for another gender to aid a person with a disability.    

 Q: How does City staff address disruptive behavior at public facilities or events?    

 A: City staff make every effort to accommodate everyone at programs, facilities, and events. However, someone creating a disruption which affects or poses harm to other patrons will be asked to stop the disruption. If the behavior continues, the person will be asked to leave.    

 If you have additional questions about ADA guidelines, please contact the City Attorney's Office at 310-458-8336.

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