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Accessible Parking
(Parking for Persons with Disabilities)

IOWA CODE CHAPTER 321L
PARKING FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

321L.1 Definitions.
321L.2 Persons with disabilities parking permits - application and issuance.
321L.2A Wheelchair parking cone.
321L.3 Return of persons with disabilities parking permits.
321L.4 Persons with disabilities parking - display and use of parking permit and persons with disabilities identification designation.
321L.5 Persons with disabilities parking spaces - location and requirements - review committees.
321L.6 Persons with disabilities parking sign.
321L.7 Penalty for failing to provide persons with disabilities parking spaces and signs.
321L.8 Persons with disabilities parking permits and parking - rules.
321L.9 Reciprocity
321L.10 Reissuance of hanging devices. Repealed by 96 Acts, ch 1171, §15.

321L.1 Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. "Business district" means that territory defined by city ordinance as required under section 321L.5.
2. "Department" means the state department of transportation.
3. "Director" means the director of transportation.
4. "Lifelong disability" means a disability described under subsection 8 which has been determined to be permanent by a person authorized to provide the statement of disability required by section 321L.2.
5. "Persons with disabilities parking permit" means a permit bearing the international symbol of accessibility issued by the department which allows the holder to park in a persons with disabilities parking space, and includes the following:
a. A persons with disabilities registration plate issued to or for a person with a disability under section 321.34, subsection 14.
b. A persons with disabilities parking sticker affixed to a registration plate issued to a disabled veteran under section 321.166, subsection 6, or to an operator under section 321.34.
c. A persons with disabilities removable windshield placard which is a two-sided placard for hanging from the rearview mirror when the motor vehicle is parked in a persons with disabilities parking space.
6. "Persons with disabilities parking sign" means a sign which bears the international symbol of accessibility that meets the requirements under section 321L.6.
7. "Persons with disabilities parking space" means a parking space, including the access aisle, designated for use by only motor vehicles displaying a persons with disabilities parking permit that meets the requirements of sections 321L.5 and 321L.6.
8. "Person with a disability" means a person with a disability that limits or impairs the person's ability to walk. A person shall be considered a person with a disability for purposes of this chapter under the following circumstances:
a. The person cannot walk two hundred feet without stopping to rest.
b. The person cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device.
c. The person is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that the person's forced expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or the arterial oxygen tension is less than sixty mm/hg on room air at rest.
d. The person uses portable oxygen.
e. The person has a cardiac condition to the extent that the person's functional limitations are classified in severity as class III or class IV according to standards set by the American heart association.
f. The person is severely limited in the person's ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.
89 Acts, ch 247, §9; 90 Acts, ch 1151, §3, 4; 96 Acts, ch 1171, §4, 5; 97 Acts, ch 23, §35; 97 Acts, ch 70, §6 - 8

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321L.2 Persons with disabilities parking permits - application and issuance.
1. a. A resident of the state with a disability desiring a persons with disabilities parking permit shall apply to the department upon an application form furnished by the department providing the applicant's name, address, date of birth, and social security number and shall also provide a statement from a physician licensed under chapter 148, 149, 150, or 150A, a physician assistant licensed under chapter 148C, an advanced registered nurse practitioner licensed under chapter 152, or a chiropractor licensed under chapter 151, or a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or chiropractor licensed to practice in a contiguous state, written on the physician's, physician assistant's, nurse practitioner's, or chiropractor's stationery, stating the nature of the applicant's disability and such additional information as required by rules adopted by the department under section 321L.8. If the person is applying for a temporary persons with disabilities parking permit, the physician's, physician assistant's, nurse practitioner's, or chiropractor's statement shall state the period of time during which the person is expected to be disabled and the period of time for which the permit should be issued, not to exceed six months.
A person with a disability may apply for one of the following persons with disabilities parking permits:
(1) Persons with disabilities registration plates. An applicant may order persons with disabilities registration plates pursuant to section 321.34. An applicant may order a persons with disabilities registration plate for a trailer used to transport a wheelchair pursuant to section 321.34 in addition to persons with disabilities registration plates ordered by the applicant for a motor vehicle used to tow such a trailer pursuant to section 321.34.
(2) Persons with disabilities parking sticker. An applicant who owns a motor vehicle for which the applicant has been issued registration plates under section 321.34 or registration plates as a seriously disabled veteran under section 321.105 may apply to the department for a persons with disabilities parking sticker to be affixed to the plates. The persons with disabilities parking stickers shall bear the international symbol of accessibility.
(3) Removable windshield placard. A person with a disability may apply for a temporary removable windshield placard which shall be valid for a period of up to six months or a nonexpiring removable windshield placard, as determined by the physician's, physician assistant's, nurse practitioner's, or chiropractor's statement under this subsection. A temporary removable windshield placard shall be renewed within thirty days of the date of expiration. Persons seeking temporary removable windshield placards shall be required to furnish evidence upon initial application that they have a temporary disability and, in addition, furnish evidence at subsequent intervals that they remain temporarily disabled. Temporary removable windshield placards shall be of a distinctively different color from nonexpiring removable windshield placards. A nonexpiring removable windshield placard shall state on the face of the placard that it is a nonexpiring placard. The department shall issue one additional removable windshield placard upon the request of a person with a disability.
b. The department may issue expiring removable windshield placards to the following:
(1) An organization which has a program for transporting persons with disabilities or elderly persons.
(2) A person in the business of transporting persons with disabilities or elderly persons.
One expiring removable windshield placard may be issued for each vehicle used by the organization or person for transporting persons with disabilities or elderly persons. A placard issued under this paragraph shall be renewed every four years from the date of issuance and shall be surrendered to the department if the organization or person is no longer providing the service for which the placard was issued. Notwithstanding section 321L.4, a person transporting persons with disabilities or elderly persons in a motor vehicle for which a placard has been issued under this paragraph may display the placard in the motor vehicle and may use a persons with disabilities parking space while the motor vehicle is displaying the placard. A placard issued under this paragraph shall be of a distinctively different color from a placard issued under paragraph "a".
c. A new removable windshield placard can be issued if the previously issued placard is reported lost, stolen, or damaged. The placard reported as being lost or stolen shall be invalidated by the department. A placard which is damaged shall be returned to the department and exchanged for a new placard in accordance with rules adopted by the department.
2. Any person providing false information with the intent to defraud on the application for a persons with disabilities parking permit used in establishing proof under subsection 1 is subject to a civil penalty of three hundred dollars which may be imposed by the department. A physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or chiropractor who provides false information with the intent to defraud on the physician's, physician assistant's, nurse practitioner's, or chiropractor's statement used in establishing proof under subsection 1 is subject to a civil penalty of three hundred dollars which may be imposed by the department. In addition to the civil penalty, the department shall revoke the permit issued pursuant to this section.
3. The removable windshield placard shall contain the following information:
a. Each side of the placard shall include all of the following:
(1) The international symbol of access, which is at least three inches in height, centered on the placard, and is white on a blue shield.
(2) An identification number.
(3) A date of expiration, which shall be of sufficient size to be readable from outside the vehicle.
(4) The seal or other identification of the issuing authority.
b. One side of the placard shall contain all of the following information:
(1) A statement printed on it as follows: "Unauthorized use of this placard as indicated in Iowa Code chapter 321L may result in a fine, invalidation of the placard, or revocation of the right to use the placard. This placard shall be displayed only when the vehicle is parked in a persons with disabilities parking space or in a parking space not designated as a persons with disabilities parking space if a wheelchair parking cone is used pursuant to Iowa Code section 321L.2A."
(2) The return address and telephone number of the department.
(3) The signature of the person who has been issued the placard.
4. A removable windshield placard shall only be displayed when the vehicle is parked in a persons with disabilities parking space.
89 Acts, ch 247, §10; 90 Acts, ch 1151, §5; 90 Acts, ch 1267, §39; 95 Acts, ch 118, §30; 96 Acts, ch 1088, §7; 96 Acts, ch 1171, §6, 7; 97 Acts, ch 70, §9 - 13, 15; 97 Acts, ch 123, §2 - 4; 2000 Acts, ch 1206, §2, 3; 2005 Acts, ch 8, §39
Subsection 5 stricken

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321L.2A Wheelchair parking cone.
1. A person issued a persons with disabilities parking permit under section 321L.2 who uses a wheelchair due to a disability that renders the person permanently unable to walk may park in a persons with disabilities parking space, or a parking space not designated as a persons with disabilities parking space, and reserve up to an eight foot space adjacent to the motor vehicle for the purpose of exiting and entering the motor vehicle if all of the following conditions are met:
a. The person places a wheelchair parking cone within eight feet of the motor vehicle's entry.
b. The person displays the persons with disabilities parking permit in the motor vehicle as described in section 321L.4.
c. The motor vehicle and the wheelchair parking cone do not obstruct an aisle, street, or roadway so that other vehicles are unable to pass through the aisle, street, or roadway.
d. The parking space is provided by the state, a political subdivision of the state, or an entity providing nonresidential parking.
e. The person carries in the motor vehicle a copy of the statement from a physician, physician's assistant, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or chiropractor which accompanied the person's application for persons with disabilities registration plates under section 321.34 or other persons with disabilities parking permit under section 321L.2 and which indicates the person is permanently unable to walk. The person shall show the copy of the statement to any peace officer upon request.
2. A person issued a persons with disabilities parking permit who does not comply with the requirements of subsection 1 when using a wheelchair parking cone commits a misdemeanor punishable by a scheduled fine under section 805.8A, subsection 1, paragraph "b".
3. A person shall not interfere with a wheelchair parking cone properly placed under subsection 1. A violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a scheduled fine under section 805.8A, subsection 1, paragraph "c".
4. The department shall adopt rules as necessary to administer this section.
97 Acts, ch 70, §15; 97 Acts, ch 147, §5; 98 Acts, ch 1080, §9; 2000 Acts, ch 1206, §4; 2001 Acts, ch 137, §5; 2005 Acts, ch 8, §40
Subsection 4 stricken and former subsection 5 renumbered as 4

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321L.3 Return of persons with disabilities parking permits.
Persons with disabilities parking permits shall be returned to the department upon the occurrence of any of the following:
1. The person to whom the persons with disabilities parking permit has been issued is deceased.
2. The person to whom the persons with disabilities parking permit has been issued has moved out of state.
3. A person has found or has in the person's possession a persons with disabilities parking permit that was not issued to that person.
4. The persons with disabilities parking permit has expired.
5. The persons with disabilities parking permit has been revoked.
6. The persons with disabilities parking permit reported lost or stolen is later found or retrieved after a subsequent persons with disabilities parking permit has been issued.
A person who fails to return the persons with disabilities parking permit and subsequently misuses the permit by illegally parking in a persons with disabilities parking space is guilty of a simple misdemeanor punishable as a scheduled violation under section 805.8A, subsection 1, paragraph "c".
Persons with disabilities parking permits may be returned to the department as required by this section directly to the department, to a driver's license station, or to any law enforcement office.
89 Acts, ch 247, §11; 96 Acts, ch 1171, §8; 97 Acts, ch 70, §15; 98 Acts, ch 1073, §9; 2001 Acts, ch 176, §55, 59; 2002 Acts, ch 1050, §34

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321L.4 Persons with disabilities parking - display and use of parking permit and persons with disabilities identification designation.
1. A persons with disabilities parking permit shall be displayed in a motor vehicle as a removable windshield placard or on a vehicle as a plate or sticker as provided in section 321L.2 when being used by a person with a disability, either as an operator or passenger. Each removable windshield placard shall be of uniform design and fabricated of durable material, suitable for display from within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle, and readily transferable from one vehicle to another. The placard shall only be displayed when the motor vehicle is parked in a persons with disabilities parking space, except as provided in section 321L.2A.
2. The use of a persons with disabilities parking space, located on either public or private property as provided in sections 321L.5 and 321L.6, by an operator of a vehicle not displaying a persons with disabilities parking permit; by an operator of a vehicle displaying a persons with disabilities parking permit but not being used by a person issued a permit or being transported in accordance with section 321L.2, subsection 1, paragraph "b"; or by a vehicle in violation of the rules adopted by the department under section 321L.8, constitutes improper use of a persons with disabilities parking permit, which is a misdemeanor for which a scheduled fine shall be imposed upon the owner, operator, or lessee of the vehicle or the person to whom the persons with disabilities parking permit is issued. The scheduled fine for each violation shall be as established in section 805.8A, subsection 1, paragraph "c". Proof of conviction of two or more violations involving improper use of a persons with disabilities parking permit is grounds for revocation by the court or the department of the holder's privilege to possess or use the persons with disabilities parking permit.
3. A peace officer as designated in section 801.4, subsection 11, shall have the authority to and shall enforce the provisions of this section on public and private property.
89 Acts, ch 247, §12; 92 Acts, ch 1122, §2; 96 Acts, ch 1171, §9; 97 Acts, ch 70, §14, 15; 97 Acts, ch 147, §6; 2000 Acts, ch 1206, §5; 2001 Acts, ch 137, §5
Replacement of "handicapped" signs, placards, and other devices in normal course of business; 97 Acts, ch 70, §17

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321L.5 Persons with disabilities parking spaces - location and requirements - review committees.
1. Persons with disabilities parking spaces and access loading zones for persons with disabilities that serve a particular building shall be located on the shortest accessible route to the nearest accessible entrance to the building.
2. A persons with disabilities parking space designated after July 1, 1990, shall comply with the dimension requirements specified in rules adopted by the department of public safety and in effect when the spaces are designated. The department shall adopt accepted national standards for dimensions of persons with disabilities spaces, consistent with the requirements of federal law. However, these dimension requirements do not apply to parallel on-street parking spaces.
3. a. The state or a political subdivision of the state which provides off-street public parking facilities or an entity providing nonresidential parking in off-street public parking facilities shall provide not less than two percent of the total parking spaces in each parking facility as persons with disabilities parking spaces, rounded to the nearest whole number of persons with disabilities parking spaces. However, such parking facilities having ten or more parking spaces shall set aside at least one persons with disabilities parking space.
b. An entity providing off-street nonresidential public parking facilities shall review the utilization of existing persons with disabilities parking spaces for a one-month period not less than once every twelve months. If upon review, the average occupancy rate for persons with disabilities parking spaces in a facility exceeds sixty percent during normal business hours, the entity shall provide additional persons with disabilities parking spaces as needed.
c. An entity providing off-street nonresidential parking as a lessor shall provide a persons with disabilities parking space to an individual requesting to lease a parking space, if that individual possesses a persons with disabilities parking permit issued in accordance with section 321L.2.
d. A new nonresidential facility in which construction has been completed on or after July 1, 1991, providing parking to the general public shall provide persons with disabilities parking spaces as stipulated below:

Total Parking Spaces in Lot Required Minimum Number of Persons with Disabilities Parking Spaces
10 to 25 1
26 to 50 2
51 to 75 3
76 to 100 4
101 to 150 5
151 to 200 6
201 to 300 7
301 to 400 8
401 to 500 9
501 to 1000 *
1001 and over **
* 2 percent of total.
** 20 spaces plus 1 for each 100 over 1,000

e. Any other person may also set aside persons with disabilities parking spaces on the person's property provided each persons with disabilities parking space is clearly and prominently designated as a persons with disabilities parking space.
4. a. Cities which provide on-street parking areas within a business district shall by ordinance define and establish a business district or districts and shall designate not less than two percent of the total parking spaces within each business district as persons with disabilities parking spaces.
b. Upon petition by an individual possessing a persons with disabilities parking permit issued in accordance with section 321L.2, the city shall review utilization and location of existing persons with disabilities parking spaces for a one-month period but not more than once every twelve months. If, upon review, the average occupancy rate for persons with disabilities parking spaces exceeds sixty percent during normal business hours, the city shall provide additional persons with disabilities parking spaces as needed.
5. A persons with disabilities parking space located on a paved surface may be painted with a blue background upon which the international symbol of accessibility is painted in white or yellow paint. However, the blue background paint may be omitted. As used in this subsection, "paved surface" includes surfaces which are asphalt surfaced.
6. A persons with disabilities parking review committee may be established by the state and each political subdivision of the state which is required to provide persons with disabilities parking spaces in off-street public parking facilities according to subsection 3 and in political subdivisions required to provide persons with disabilities parking spaces for on-street parking within a business district according to subsection 4. The persons with disabilities parking review committee shall consist of five members who are persons with disabilities as defined in section 321L.1 and five members who are officials of the state or political subdivision. The persons with disabilities parking review committee shall have the discretion to increase or decrease the numbers of persons with disabilities parking spaces required by this section. A decision to change the numbers or location of persons with disabilities parking spaces shall be based upon the needs of the community, the percentage of use of the present persons with disabilities parking spaces, and the past experience of the state or political subdivision regarding persons with disabilities parking.
An individual may request the persons with disabilities parking review committee to review the amounts and locations of persons with disabilities parking spaces. The persons with disabilities parking review committee shall investigate each individual's request and shall act upon such request if the investigation substantiates the individual's complaint.
89 Acts, ch 247, §13; 90 Acts, ch 1151, §6 - 8; 94 Acts, ch 1015, §1; 94 Acts, ch 1107, §21; 96 Acts, ch 1171, §10, 11; 97 Acts, ch 70, §15; 98 Acts, ch 1080, §10

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321L.6 Persons with disabilities parking sign.
A persons with disabilities parking sign shall be displayed designating the persons with disabilities parking space.
1. The persons with disabilities parking sign shall have a blue background and bear the international symbol of accessibility in white. If an entity who owns or leases real property in a city is required to provide persons with disabilities parking spaces, the city shall provide, upon request, the signs for the entity at cost. If an entity who owns or leases real property outside the corporate limits of a city is required to provide persons with disabilities parking spaces, the county in which the property is located shall provide the signs for the entity at cost upon request.
2. The persons with disabilities parking sign shall be affixed vertically on another object so that it is readily visible to a driver of a motor vehicle approaching the persons with disabilities parking space. A persons with disabilities parking space designated only by the international symbol of accessibility being painted or otherwise placed horizontally on the parking space does not meet the requirements of this subsection.
89 Acts, ch 247, §14; 93 Acts, ch 169, §20; 97 Acts, ch 70, §15, 16; 97 Acts, ch 147, §7
Replacement of "handicapped" signs, placards, and other devices in normal course of business; 97 Acts, ch 70, §17

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321L.7 Penalty for failing to provide persons with disabilities parking spaces and signs.
Failure to provide proper persons with disabilities parking spaces as provided in section 321L.5 or to properly display persons with disabilities parking signs as provided in section 321L.6 is a simple misdemeanor punishable as a scheduled violation under section 805.8A, subsection 1, paragraph "c".
89 Acts, ch 247, §15; 97 Acts, ch 70, §15; 2001 Acts, ch 176, §56, 59
Replacement of "handicapped" signs, placards, and other devices in normal course of business; 97 Acts, ch 70, §17

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321L.8 Persons with disabilities parking permits and parking - rules.
1. The department, pursuant to chapter 17A, shall adopt rules:
a. Establishing procedures for applying to the department for issuance of persons with disabilities parking permits under this chapter.
b. Governing the manner in which persons with disabilities parking permits are to be displayed in or on motor vehicles.
c. Regarding enforcement of this chapter.
2. The department of public safety shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 17A governing the manner in which persons with disabilities parking spaces are provided.
89 Acts, ch 247, §16; 96 Acts, ch 1171, §12; 97 Acts, ch 70, §15

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321L.9 Reciprocity.
Persons with disabilities parking permits issued lawfully by other states and foreign governmental bodies or their political subdivisions shall be valid persons with disabilities parking permits for nonresidents traveling or visiting in this state.
89 Acts, ch 247, §17; 96 Acts, ch 1171, §13; 97 Acts, ch 70, §15

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321L.10 Reissuance of hanging devices. Repealed by 96 Acts, ch 1171, § 15.

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Fact Sheet: Accessible Parking

 

 

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Created: 05-10-2006
Last Updated: 06-28-2011 (JGL)