VA’s First ‘EasyLiving’ Community Developing in Albemarle

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A residential community in Albemarle County is the first in Virginia to earn an "EasyLiving" certification. Thirty-six houses in the Dunlora Forest neighborhood have been built with unique features to make navigating the space much easier.

Area builder Southern Development Homes is building what it calls “universal design elements” into the floor plans. The company says there's a high market demand in this area for houses with those accommodations.

Tony Laquintano says he and his wife are excited to share their new home in Dunlora Forest with friends and family.

“Everything has a nice flow to it. We also have a new grandchild, so he'll be able to take all of his toys and run the entire length of the house, and we can still keep an eye on him,” he said.

Representatives of Southern Development Homes and EasyLiving Home held an open house Tuesday for people to tour the certified community.

“We certify that homes have certain features for accessibility, for universal design, for livability - really the basic features are for an easier way to live in a home, a more comfortable way,” said Teri Morgan, EasyLiving Home board member.

The residences are equipped with features such as a step-less entrance, wider doors, and more space on the first floor for people to move around. Southern Development Homes says the sales show many people are attracted to these kinds of amenities.

“We opened sales here about a year ago and on the first day we were accepting contracts, we had more than 50 people show up interested in buying a home in this community,” said Charlie Armstrong, vice president for land development with Southern Development Homes.

The Laquintanos are preparing to move into their brand-new space in mid-April.

“All of the bathrooms have easy access. The rooms are large, so that you can move around easily in the rooms and getting to our age, we look forward to those kinds of things,” Laquintano said.

The developer is now working to build an “EasyLiving” community made up of more than 100 homes near Lake Monticello. The homes start at $369,000.

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