Playhouse Dispute Could Prompt New Law

Dec 20, 2011

The dispute over a playhouse built for a three-year-old with cerebral palsy in Lexington made national headlines earlier this month. Now, one Kentucky lawmaker is using the case to argue for a possible expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Cooper Veloudis's parents say the $5000 playhouse they built in their backyard is part of their son's therapy.

The Veloudis' neighborhood association says it violates the organization's rules. But when the playhouse story went viral on the internet, it launched a much larger national debate. Democratic state Representative Richard Henderson is crafting a bill that could extend Americans with Disabilities Act protections to neighborhoods. Pat Gesualdo is an advocate for the disabled out of New Jersey who is helping Henderson draft the bill.

"They have to allow certain structures for children in situations like this that are 'reasonable,'" Gesualdo says.

Currently, the pre-filed bill only prevents neighborhood associations from barring the construction of buildings like Cooper's playhouse. But Henderson and Gesualdo are still in the process of deciding whether to invoke provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act.