LETTER FROM HOME: Universal design, and a clarification


Local advocates of universal design are celebrating the Sarasota County Commission’s resolution for a voluntary universal design program for residences.

Builders and remodelers who adhere to universal design principles will have fast-track permitting for their projects. It is not mandatory, said longtime UD advocate Tracy Lux, but builders will be provided a checklist of items for UD accreditation.

“Universal design allows people to remain in their homes as they age,” said Lux, a member of the Universal Design Coalition. “It increases the comfort, safety and ease of mobility within the home. And, it increases the marketability of a home at minimal increase in cost.”

The checklist includes specifications for easy entry into a home for people on foot or in mobility devices, accessible ground-floor bathrooms, grab bars for tubs and showers; 42-inch wide halls and 36-inch doorways for wheelchair access; electrical outlets 18 inches above the floor; rocker panel light switches and easy-open levers for cabinets; and knee space beneath sinks and cook tops.

The UDC will present a six-session seminar beginning March 7. Topics will include Universal Design, Innovative Housing Models and Cooperative Householding. Information is at www.LLA-SM.org.

Shoreline debate

The shoreline at Aquadisia.

The shoreline at Aquadisia.

The shoreline at Aquadisia, an estate on Siesta Key for sale at $18 million, has a breakwater of “rip-rap” that extends the entire length of the property. My Jan. 10 feature story on the property did not mention the rocks, which were added to the northern section of Sanderling Club’s beach as an erosion-control measure in the 1960s. A reader pointed out that the rocks make it incorrect to call that section of shoreline a beach, just as a shoreline with seawall is not a beach. He said their existence should have been mentioned in the story or shown in a photograph.

I posed this issue to Florida International University professor Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman, Sarasota luxury real estate appraiser Don Saba and Punta Gorda attorney David Levin, who practices waterfront property and environmental law as a member of the Icard/Merrill law firm. Based on photographs, they all agree that the property is beachfront. Levin wrote, “What is depicted in the photographs that you sent with your email is a sandy beach with the upland property, i.e., that area above the mean high water line, protected by armoring.”

That issue aside, the beach, shoreline or water’s edge on that section of Siesta Key is unusual because of the rocks; that fact is pertinent to an article about the property. Some potential buyers might not like the rocks; others might appreciate the protection they may provide against rough surf.

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: January 17, 2016
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