The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), which represents more than 3,000 private campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks, is using McDermott Will & Emery to stake out a presence in Washington, according to a post on the Blog of Legal Times.
ARVC has deployed McDermott to lobby on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding pool lifts, among other matters concerning parks and campgrounds, congressional records show. McDermott partner David Ransom and legislative affairs director W. Kam Quarles are handling the account, according to a lobbying registration report filed with Congress.
The organization has expressed concern about ADA accessibility requirements for swimming pools and spas. Under the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, pool owners will be required to make their swimming facilities handicap accessible. The requirements favor fixed pool lifts over the devices’ portable counterparts, which, Ransom said, many campgrounds and RV parks have bought.
“So it set off quite a bit of chaos in the industry,” said Ransom, who has worked on legal matters for ARVC for about a year.
The U.S. Justice Department initially required owners of existing pools and spas to comply with the requirements by this year. But, acknowledging private-sector concerns and confusion about the ADA stipulations, the DOJ last month postponed the compliance deadline until Jan. 31, 2013.
ARVC said it had more than 80 visits with members of Congress in May and a meeting with the White House to discuss the ADA regulations, according to a news release from the organization.
The Justice Department promised Thursday to be “flexible” in enforcing new rules ordering public pools to pay for lifts or ramps for the disabled — backing away from what some pool operators had said was an invitation to a flood of lawsuits against small businesses.
The Washington Times reported that it marked the latest retreat for the department, which earlier this year ruled the Americans With Disabilities Act applied to pools open to the public, such as community recreation centers and hotels, which would have to invest in elevators, lifts or ramps in order to accommodate the disabled.
But with the March compliance deadline looming and members of Congress threatening action, the Justice Department issued an initial delay, and earlier this month extended the stay into next year. On Thursday, the department went further, saying the rules apply chiefly to new pools, while existing pools will only need to comply if it’s easy and cheap to do so.
“Readily achievable means that it is easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense,” the department said. “This is a flexible, case-by-case analysis, with the goal of ensuring that ADA requirements are not unduly burdensome, including to small businesses.”
The reprieve came just before the Memorial Day weekend, which marks the traditional opening day for many outdoor pools.
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