Act of Oct. 28, 2006, P.L. 1207, No. 132             Cl. 72
                                  AN ACT

     Providing for a tax credit to encourage property owners to
        include visitability design features on their properties.

        The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
     hereby enacts as follows:

     Section 1.  Short title.
        This act shall be known and may be cited as the Residential
     Visitability Design Tax Credit Act.
     Section 2.  Construction.
        This act shall be construed to further authorize local taxing
     authorities to provide special tax provisions for the benefit of
     persons who have disabilities or other infirmities and to
     establish minimum uniform design standards as authorized under
     section 2(b)(ii) of Article VIII of the Constitution of
     Section 3.  Definitions.
        The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
     have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
     context clearly indicates otherwise:
        "Acceptable slope."  A variable grade measured by rise over
        "Circulation path."  An exterior or interior way of passage
     from one place to another for pedestrians.
        "Dwelling."  A structure used as a place of habitation by a
     natural person. The term shall include new residential
     construction, existing residential construction or any
     commercial or industrial building that is converted for
     residential use.
        "Eligible property owner."  A person responsible for the
     payment of taxes on a dwelling.
        "Local taxing authority."  A county, city, borough,
     incorporated town, township, school district or home rule
     municipality having authority to levy real property taxes.
        "No-step entry."  An entry to a housing unit that has no
     steps or other barrier to people who have significant mobility
        "Pedestrian site arrival point."  A place where pedestrians
     may enter a dwelling site from a public right-of-way. The term
     typically includes sidewalks, driveways, streets, alleys and
        "Powder room."  A toileting room having, at a minimum, a
     water closet and a lavatory.
        "Significant mobility impairment."  The disability of a
     person who needs assistive mobility technology in the form of a
     wheelchair, walker, crutches or a similar device in order to
     move along a circulation path.
        "Visitability design."  The presence of architectural design
     features which enhance access and usability for visitors and
     residents who have significant mobility impairment and which
     minimize the cost of full accessibility modifications, if
     necessary, at a later time.
     Section 4.  Tax credit authorized.
        (a)  Authorization.--The governing body of a local taxing
     authority which levies a tax on residential property is
     authorized to and may, by ordinance or resolution, provide a
     residential visitability design tax credit against a real
     property tax levied on such property. The credit may be offered
     to residential owners at the sole discretion of the local taxing
     authority, so long as the uniform design standards contained in
     this act are provided within the eligible residential units.
        (b)  Applicability.--The tax credit authorized under
     subsection (a) shall be limited to any new or renovated dwelling
     that contains visitability design features which will enhance
     the usability of the dwelling for persons with significant
     mobility impairment and which minimize the cost of full
     accessibility modifications, if necessary, at a later time.
        (c)  Amount.--The amount of the tax credit shall be
     determined by the governing body and shall not exceed $2,500 or
     the total amount of the increased amount of property taxes owed
     during the first five years from the time the tax credit is
     approved, whichever is less.
        (d)  Administration.--The governing body shall determine the
     form and manner in which any eligible property owner shall apply
     for the credit and may adopt rules and regulations for the
     approval and disapproval of applications.
     Section 5.  Design standards.
        (a)  General standards.--The architectural design of a
     visitable home shall comply with all of the following
            (1)  The path from either a vehicle parking area or a
        pedestrian entrance to the lot to the no-step entrance shall
        be firm, stable and slip resistant.
                (i)  The grade of the path shall not exceed the
            following acceptable slopes: 1:8 for slope length of five
            feet or less with a maximum rise of 7.5 inches; 1:10 for
            slope length of 12 feet or less with a maximum rise of
            14.4 inches; and 1:12 for slope length of more than 12
                (ii)  Notwithstanding subparagraph (i), if the
            average slope of the property line along and contiguous
            to the public right-of-way exceeds a slope of 1:12, the
            slope of the exterior circulation path may be greater, if
            necessary, to provide access to the no-step entry, but it
            may not exceed the average slope of the property line.
            (2)  The residence shall provide at least one no-step
        entrance approachable by a firm, stable and slip-resistant
        path with an acceptable slope. The no-step entrance shall
        have a threshold of no greater than three-fourths of an inch.
        The no-step entrance to the residence may be located on any
        exterior side of the house or an entrance through the
        integral garage to the visitable level of the residence.
            (3)  All no-step entry doors must have a minimum clear
        open width of at least 32 inches and be equipped with lever
        handle hardware.
            (4)  Interior circulation paths on the visitable level of
        the dwelling must be at least 36 inches in width.
            (5)  All interior doorways on the visitable level of the
        dwelling, excluding closets and doorways to floors below the
        visitable level, shall have a minimum clear open width of 32
            (6)  Each visitable dwelling shall have a minimum of one
        powder room or bathroom on the visitable-level floor. The
        powder room shall have a 30-inch by 48-inch minimum clear
        floor space contiguous to the water closet and the lavatory.
        The clear space under the lavatory may be included in these
        measurements, and clear spaces contiguous to the water closet
        and lavatory may overlap. Plumbing fixtures and entry-room
        doors accessing the visitable powder room must be equipped
        with lever-style hardware.
            (7)  (i)  All bathrooms and powder rooms throughout the
            residential unit shall have reinforcement of at least two
            inches by eight inches of blocking between the studs
            placed inside the walls for easy installation of grab
            bars if needed. Reinforcement shall be capable of
            supporting grab bars that resist shear and bending forces
            of 250 pounds or greater. Blocking should be centered at
            34 inches from and parallel to the finished floor.
                (ii)  Notwithstanding subparagraph (i), in renovated
            homes only the walls in powder rooms or bathrooms on the
            visitable floor and those on floors that have the stud
            walls exposed as part of the renovation process need to
            comply with this paragraph.
            (8)  (i)  Light switches may not be higher than 48 inches
            above the finished floor of the residential unit. If
            there are two controls for the same light, only one need
            be in compliance with these standards.
                (ii)  Notwithstanding subparagraph (i), in renovated
            homes only the switches on the visitable floor need to
            comply with this paragraph unless the electrical
            renovations extend beyond the visitable floor.
        (b)  Modifications.--The design standards contained in this
     section may not be modified or made mandatory, except as
     provided by the act of November 10, 1999 (P.L.491, No.45), known
     as the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act.
     Section 6.  Effective date.
        This act shall take effect immediately.