Park operators will have until Jan. 31, 2013, to comply with changes in accessibility requirements for swimming pools and spas under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Justice Department announced on its website Wednesday (May 16) that it plans to publish a new rule on Monday with the Jan. 31 compliance date, according to a news release.

“Thanks to an effective team effort involving private park operators working in collaboration with our counterparts in the hotel industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, we have achieved our initial objective, which was to extend the ADA compliance date until next year,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

However, the Justice Department has not yet signaled a willingness to consider revising its regulations to make it possible for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts to meet the latest ADA requirements with portable pool lifts. ARVC contends that portable pool lifts are equally accessible to the public as fixed pool lifts and would not create a safety hazard for children who may be attracted to the equipment.

ARVC and its affiliates have endorsed a bill proposed by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., that would allow portable pool lifts to meet the new ADA pool lift requirements.

“We have scored one of our goals with the Justice Department, but our opposition to the fixed lift issue will continue,” Bambei said, adding that ARVC’s government affairs counsel, the Washington D.C. law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, is reviewing the Justice Department’s latest statements to determine the appropriate next steps for the campground industry on this issue.

ARVC’s proactive efforts on the ADA pool lift issue so far have included over 80 visits last week with U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill; letter-writing campaigns; a visit to the White House at the invitation of the administration to discuss the issue; an official written comment to the Department of Justice’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; as well as coordinated lobbying by ARVC and its partners in the hotel industry, which include such notables as the American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Resort Development Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the World Water Park Association.

Congressional representatives have also sent letters to top Justice Department officials in response to the outreach by the campground and hotel industries.