FOUNTAIN, Colo. (CBS4) – A group of neighbors in Fountain are threatening to take legal action if the wheelchair ramp a family recently installed stays up.
The Giesegh family says they have every right to have the ramp, which is there to help out a daughter with cerebal palsy who uses a wheelchair. They are working with a civil rights lawyer and say they are protected under federal law by the Fair Housing Act.
Attorney Amy Robertson from the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center said she hopes a letter to the neighbors explaining the law will be enough to put the issue to rest.
“Fundamentally these are individuals who own their own home and made a change to their own home, and the neighbors are telling them that it doesn’t look good so they should remove the ramp,” she said.
“They do not have the right to interfere with the Gieseghs’ installation of the ramp or use of the ramp.”
The Gieseghs say their neighbors are upset that the ramp will bring down home values in the neighborhood.
Vincent Giesegh, the girl’s father, said the family has to overcome daily challenges with their daughter’s condition.
“We’re doing the best we can to assist my daughter with her daily needs to be able to get in and out of the house,” Giesegh said.
Heidi Giesegh, her mom, said the safety of the family members is at risk without the ramp.
“As she goes in to her spastic moods we can just tumble down the stairs and both of us could get massively hurt,” she said.
The neighbors have made no public comment.
“I mean I’m just kind of disappointed that a neighbor of mine doesn’t really understand the necessity of handicap assistable houses for people that have disabilities,” Vincent Giesegh said.
The neighborhood does not have an HOA and the family says the city of Fountain approved the construction.
The family’s attorney says they hope to resolve this matter without going to court.