Some of you know the saga of GardenSpirit Guesthouse but most of you do not.
GardenSpirit is my dream come true retreat house for women that I created from a suburban house, transformed it into a cottage wonderland and now use it for my own retreats and for other women’s groups and personal retreats.
About two weeks ago, I got an email from the local planning department telling me to close down immediately, then another one from the local health department telling me the same thing. Not that GardenSpirit is unhealthy but because I haven’t been operating as a business, but rather as a private person giving retreats.
I thought it might be no problem, but dealing with the government is far far far worse than I ever imagined. The people aren’t at fault, but the regulations and hoops they are trying to make me jump through border on ridiculous. Here’s an example:
I have a moderate size four bedroom house. When I added on to the deck a couple of years ago, I put in a ramp so that wheelchair bound women could get into the sunroom. I don’t have a handicapped accessible bathroom yet. The planning people are saying I have to put in PERMANENT concrete ramps inside the house to get people into the bedrooms. Because of the slope requirements, the ramp would have to be 12 feet long. The room is only 11 feet long. The next tier ramp has to be 8 feet long and will block access for everyone else to get out the sliding glass doors. See what I mean? I feel like bumper pool, trying so hard to make everyone happy and feeling like it’s going nowhere fast.
Let me be clear — I absolutely believe in providing handicapped access to GardenSpirit. I already started with the deck ramp. I am willing to buy portable ramps for the house, even look at installing a handicapped bath in the garage (the only place available). But they want me to widen the halls to 36 inches wide – with a stairway on one side and heating ducts on the other . Impossible without rebuilding the entire house. Which is…impossible.
Because the county doubled the stream buffer to 110 feet, which means I cannot do ANY construction in the house. NONE. See what I mean?? There are a lot more of these “push me into a corner and watch me twist into a pretzel to try to meet their standards.”
I have been pretty darned depressed, almost frantic, the last couple of weeks. But yesterday I found out that the Dept of Justice which administers the Americans with Disabilities Act requires only that I make accommodations that are “readily achievable without much difficulty or expense.” Whew!
I can certainly add on to the parking pad for a van accessible space. And I can replace the door knobs with lever handles AND buy that portable ramp. Otherwise I will be completely shut down. I can’t believe that’s what the Universe has in mind. GardenSpirit has healed and helped so many women and couples already. It has so much more to offer.
So now that I have bounced off the basement floor, I am coming on back to you, ADDivas. We have a heck of a month planned for April. Video; snippets of my new book; fabulous guests and MORE. Yay. It feels good to be back home with you.