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Elderly L.I. Couple Battles Town Over Permits For Wheelchair-Accessible Bathroom Door

Yola Dessables (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

Yola Dessables (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – An elderly Long Island couple is fighting the Town of North Hempstead over widening a bathroom door to make it wheelchair-accessible.

John and Yola Dessables, both 84, have lived in their New Hyde Park home for 15 years, but the couple has recently been coping with a number of health issues.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

Yola Dessables had to have her legal amputated last year; she is legally blind in one eye and her husband has diabetes, the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

To make life easier, the couple hired a contractor to widen the bathroom door by one foot to make it wheelchair-accessible, WBCS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

Now, the Dessables are facing $6,000 in fines after the Town of North Hempstead said the couple never got the proper permits to do the work.

“I think they are being unfair because this is not big work,” Yola Dessables said.

The town’s attorney said they are sympathetic but there are rules that must be followed.

“We always try to work with people who have issues, we always do,” attorney Byron McDonald said. “But first if you’re having construction done on your house or any work done in your house we have to know the work is done safely.”

The town said as long as the couple gets the proper permits no fines will be issued, Hall reported.

The Dessables have hired an attorney to help them fight the fines.

“They should definitely not be fined,” the couple’s attorney Susan Lyons said. “I think the Town of North Hempstead should help them get the permits, help them get the approvals if they feel it’s necessary.”

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