Posted: July 10, 2013
July 10, 2013
The Leon County Commission voted to continue working with gas station owners and advocates of people with disabilities to come up with a market-driven plan that would make gas stations accessible for everyone.
Americans with Disabilities Act consultant J.R. Harding told the Commission on Tuesday the county needed more gas stations that provide specific hours when a second attendant is available and a two-way communication device attached to each pump.
“We don’t want some 1-800-number that goes to the office in Oklahoma,” Harding said. The Commission explored a proposed ordinance in November that would require gas stations to affix stickers to pumps providing disabled customers with a phone number but that never came to a vote. That same proposal was revisited along with the requests made by Harding.
Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association Director Ned Bowman said his group was opposed to Harding’s plan because it would leave them open to lawsuit. “You’re opening up Pandora’s box if someone shows up and another attendant is not there,” said Bowman, adding his clients were not opposed to providing local phone numbers. A state law implemented through the ADA requires gas stations with more than one attendant on duty to provide refueling assistance to those who are handicapped.
“Whatever is on the books right now is not a solution,” Harding said.
Commissioner John E. Dailey introduced a motion to adopt the ordinance requiring the stickers and in the meantime, develop a proposal that would offer incentives to gas stations that adopt ideas better aligned with Harding’s proposal. Harding said he would rather move forward with the incentive plan.
“If we’re going to spend some money, ladies and gentlemen, let’s spend it correctly,” Harding said.
The Commission will revisit the proposal in September. “I would rather get more along the lines of what we really want than piecemeal,” Harding said after the meeting. “I’m glad to see we’re making some progress.”