Requirement for adult changing tables approved by Council

Individuals with disabilities and parents of disabled children advocated for the legislation.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 9:53 p.m. March 26, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
An adult-sized changing table at Natchez Trace State Park in Tennessee.
An adult-sized changing table at Natchez Trace State Park in Tennessee.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
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Some businesses will be required to outfit their restrooms with adult changing tables under legislation that received final approval March 26 from the Jacksonville City Council.

Council voted 17-0 for Ordinance 2023-0780, which establishes changing tables to be installed in businesses that provide six or more toilets. The ordinance applies only to new construction or significant renovations. 

The ordinance is modeled on an international building code that is expected to be adopted by the state in the next scheduled update of its codes, set for 2026. 

The legislation was introduced last year and was amended several times on its way to the final vote. 

The initial version would have required businesses to offer adult changing tables in a family restroom, which led to concerns that businesses with traditional men’s and ladies’ rooms would be forced to build new facilities.

Before it was amended, the ordinance also applied to businesses of all sizes. 

As adopted, the ordinance allows changing tables to be placed in men’s and ladies’ rooms, provided they are installed in both.

Council member Raul Arias, a restaurant owner, said building a separate family restroom and outfitting it with a changing table would have an estimated upfront cost of $40,000. It would generate residual costs by occupying space that previously produced revenue.

Arias said the addition of changing tables in both men’s and ladies’ rooms would cost about $20,000 and would provide patrons with two tables instead of one.

Individuals with disabilities and parents of disabled adult children advocated for the ordinance, saying the lack of changing tables forces them to change their children on restroom floors or in vehicles. They say disabled individuals deserve privacy and sanitary conditions when in public businesses.

Council members Terrance Freeman and Will Lahnen were not present for the vote.



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