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Citing Threat To Property Value, Neighbors Want Ramp Removed

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A Colorado family says their neighbors have threatened them with legal action over the ramp they installed for their daughter with cerebral palsy to access their home.

Vincent and Heidi Giesegh say they received approval from local officials to add a ramp to the front of their Fountain, Colo. home and widen the driveway to accommodate an accessible van for their 16-year-old daughter, Kirsten.

Their next-door neighbors, however, are concerned that the additions will hurt property values and want the ramp removed, the Gieseghs say.

“It’s kind of irritating,” Vincent Giesegh told KKTV in Colorado Springs. “We’re doing the best we can to assist my daughter with her daily needs to get in and out of the house.”

The neighbors declined to comment on the matter and the Gieseghs say attempts to reason with them have been unsuccessful.

Now officials with the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center in Denver are reaching out to the disgruntled neighbors to educate them about the rights of individuals with disabilities under federal law to have accommodations like ramps.

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Comments (21 Responses)

  1. Donna May says:

    Now I know why I left Colorado. Let me see if I understand this: a wheelchair ramp on the neighbor’s house and a wider driveway will harm the other neighbor’s property values. I can’t understand how.

    I am adult with Cerebral Palsy and I for one think that if this girl’s parents are making accommodations so their daughter can come and go as she wants to, how is this going to hurt the property values? I mean is this their sole concern is property values? Something is wrong with this picture.

  2. vmgillen says:

    @Donna May – c’mon, there is at least one bone-head in every city in every state…. not just Colorado. We have MANY in Staten Island, NY. The threat of legal action is completely bogus: they will spend a fortune, the case will probably be tossed, and the family will receive support (we see that happening now).

    BTW, if you property values go down, so will your taxable assessed valuation. Meanwhile, if they’re planning on selling, they should be aware that in most places this is still a buyer’s market, and they won’t get what they’re asking in any event.

  3. robert lilienthal says:

    I’ve been to Colorado Springs, and Ididn’t think it was in the 50′s, but I was wrong!

  4. Drena says:

    This is tragic. I hope those neighbors back down and realize what the real issues are. Even if what they’re citing is true, accessibility and having a comfortable life should trump property values. Note to self: Don’t move to Colorado.

  5. Patty Sprofera says:

    I guess this family’s neighbors don’t realize that if they live long enough, they, too, many need some assistance: i.e. ramps/stairlift, etc.

  6. Aldyth says:

    Ditto to what everyone else said!

  7. Lilly Scott says:

    Homes with accessible features are very much in demand! The neighbors should be adding ramps to their homes for future planning and future sales. Some pretty plantings might help soften the ramp’s practical features.

  8. Rocky Burks says:

    How unfortunate it is for this family to endure the prejudicial attitudes of able-bodied neighbors who are more concerned about their wealth than the health, welfare and safety provided a child with disabilities by loving parents. Until such time that our western civilized society REALLY understands the value and importance of Universal Design construction which allows everyone to age in place, we are destined to endure the inappropriate attitudinal barriers, ignorance, and discrimination demonstrated by such neighbors. I wish the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center all success in changing the neighbors ATTITUDE!

  9. Chris Epstein says:

    Finally the G men doing something worthwhile. I would rather have a ramp for my next door neighbors then a bunch of loud mouth drunken adolescents anytime.

  10. Jon K. Evans says:

    I am not a lawyer, but what the neighbors are engaging in, is a HATE CRIME! It is another form of keeping certain ethnic groups out! Duh! it should be illegal

  11. Heather Hudson says:

    Seriously what in the world is wrong with people these days-ugh so ignorant,mean,selfish,and uneducated. I really have to bite my tongue here-My 2 sons have disabilities too but we see past disability-my hope is that one day people will wake up and stop being judgemental,selfish,ignorant,hateful,hurtful,non accepting and mean and will instead help thy neighbor instead of causing creating more undue stress and sadness especiallyregarding our children/teens.

  12. Rhonda says:

    “The neighbors declined to comment on the issue. . .” It’s funny that the neighbors are more than willing to share their bigotry and hateful language when they can keep it under wraps. But ask them to stand up and speak to the issue and they are too embarrassed and ashamed to put their names out there. Frankly, that just demonstrates that they know they are in the wrong. The quiet passive aggressive bigots are always the most dangerous. Peace and love to Heidi and her family. As your neighbors cower in hate and shame, I’m guessing many of their children wish they could be you and live in a loving home.

  13. Linda Fitzgerald says:

    What kind of people DO this?

  14. Electric_Pink says:

    It’s a sin and a shame that those homeowners believe their neighborhood’s property values will be negatively impacted because this young woman has a ramp and widened driveway added to her family’s home. Ramps aren’t supposed to be sexy and all glammed up. They’re supposed to be well-made and sturdy. What, is the young lady not supposed to be able to get in and out of her home so as not to affect the neighborhood aesthetic? How selfish can people be?

  15. Amy Marchand Collins says:

    With the aging of the general population and advances in neonatology that allow more preemies to survive, many with disabilities, coupled with two wars that have left many of our soldiers disabled, I would think a ramp will improve the property value, at least for the property it is on. I know I would have gladly paid more to buy a house that was already accessible for my twins with cerebral palsy rather tan have to make major modifications after purchase.
    Hard to see how this is any of the neighbor’s business, but perhaps they needed the education.

  16. Gordon Richins says:

    I am an individual with C-4 quadriplegia and use a power chair for the last 26 years. When I broke my neck I spent five months in the hospital before returning home. In an effort to get my power wheelchair into the house my neighbors built my ramp for me while I was in the hospital and I didn’t even need to ask them. Because they knew I would do the same thing for them. I guess I live in a nicer neighborhood with nicer neighbors. One other suggestion I would have is that before a lawsuit communities should come together and help the family put in a landscaped accessible ramp. I have seen many pictures of beautiful ramps landscaped with bushes and flowers that actually increase the value of a home.
    Gordon Richins
    Preston Idaho

  17. Dennis Burgess says:

    I am an adult with Cerebral Palsy and I had a similar situation when I bought my condominium. I put a mailbox outside my front door so I would not have to go up the street in my power wheelchair to get my mail. Then I got a letter from the home owners association telling me to take the box down immediately. After a long battle with the association, they agreed to allow me to put a mail slot in my front door.
    I will never understand why there should have to be laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities who need modifications to their own home. This should be something that everyone understands

  18. Patrick Maher says:

    I cannot believe the gall of some people! Are you kidding me?! How incredibly callous. Beware of karma neighbors. Wow.

  19. Claudia says:

    Talking about mean neighbors!! The Gieseghs have right to build the ramp on their own property, and their daughter has right for accessibility under the laws!

  20. AlWBrown says:

    Stuff like this ticks me off. The neighbors should be ashamed of themselves. I hope they are educated properly and just maybe they “deserve” to have a similar issue arise in their household and see how they would like the same treatment.

  21. Lynn says:

    I am a native of Colorado, a Navy veteran, and a disabled person using a wheelchair and/or a mobility scooter (depends on where in Denver I am going). when I installed my wheelchair ramp in front of my house, I explained to the neighbors, in writing, the reason why it was necessary and who was doing the work. Found out through the VA that permits and permissions for accessibility devices are not required in Colorado. The neighbors don’t have a leg to stand on (pun intended). The property values on the neighbors’ house will probably drop do to the smell from these stinkers.
    Now if we could just educate people about the handicapped parking problem.

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