Neighbors Want Family's Handicap Ramp Removed; Lawyer Weighs In

By  | 

A civil rights lawyer is weighing in on the handicap ramp at the center of a neighborhood squabble.

Vincent and Heidi Giesegh say their neighbors are threatening legal action if they don't remove the ramp. The Gieseghs say they need it for their 16-year-old daughter Kirsten, who has Cerebral Palsy. The couple next door, the Gieseghs say, is worried that the ramp will hurt the value of their home.

"We're trying to do our best to assist our daughter with her daily needs to get in and out of the house," Vincent Giesegh told 11 News.

"As she goes into her spastic modes, we could just tumble down the stairs and both of us could get massively hurt," said Heidi Giesegh.

Civil rights lawyer Amy Robertson says the Gieseghs are protected under the Fair Housing Act:

The Fair Housing Act says that someone with disabilities has the right to have something like this ramp. The family has the right to use and enjoy their house, and the law prohibits anyone from interfering with that right.

Now that lawyer, from the Denver-based Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, is getting in touch with the neighbors.

"We're sending a letter today to the neighbor, and again, the tone of that letter is very explanatory. Just hoping that if they understand the law, that this problem will be resolved. Of course, if they want to meet, we'd certainly be open to a meeting," Robertson told 11 News.

The Gieseghs neighborhood doesn't have an HOA, and the family says the city of Fountain told them it was ok to install the ramp and widen their driveway for a handicap van. 11 News went next door to get the neighbor's side of the story--they told us no comment.

The family's home is part of a community under construction. We reached out to the home's builder, who says they've also received complaints from the neighbors.

The Gieseghs say they've contacted the Rocky Mountain American Disability Center for help.