Universal Design

Norstar Development has considerable experience with the development of communities that feature cost effective plans to enhance accessibility, visibility, and universal design features. These programs integrate features and methods that promote universal access of unit features, a visitable path for disabled tenants and visitors, and the promotion of social interactions by allowing residents and visitors to access units and common amenities, whether on their own or with others.

The following are three Developments recently completed or currently under construction highlighting these qualities:

Pinellas Heights, located in Largo, Florida is a 153-unit senior affordable development currently under construction with a January 2014 completion date. All 153 units will be both accessible and visitable.

Venetian Walk, located in Venice, Florida is a 61-unit senior affordable development currently under construction with a completion date in January of 2014. The project will contain the accessibility, visitability, and universal design features required to achieve a LEED Gold certification.

Renaissance Preserve, located in Fort Myers, Florida is a 184-unit, two-phase family project completed in 2010 and 2011. The units contain visitable, accessible, and universal design features, and the site and outdoor areas have been developed with care to increase access for all people.

Below are a few of the specific universal design features and strategies that Norstar employs, which benefit not only future senior residents, but also people of all ages, sizes, and abilities throughout the life of the projects:

Site, Building and Common Area Features

  • Guards in corners and other locations that are vulnerable to impact from motorized wheelchairs, scooters, or strollers
  • Opaque, graphic emblems across central area of glass doors to decrease accidents
  • Visual signage in common areas with a light to dark contrast of at least 70%
  • Visual display or community boards with at least 2/3 of the board area located no more than 48” above the floor to accommodate a variety of users.
  • 18 point minimum fonts used when posting information
  • Coat hooks and other public use items at no more than 48” from floor
  • Use of slip resistant flooring tile with a coefficient of friction of .60 or greater (wet) per the Ceramic Tile Institute
  • High efficiency power hand dryers in common bathrooms that can be used from a seated position
  • Adequate lighting outside and inside of primary entrance doors that mitigates intensity of light transitions at night and day
  • For outdoor spaces, areas for accessible companion space next to benches, accessible dining spaces, and grills and other amenities located to give people choice of sun or shade. Accessible benches with 42” minimum length and 24” maximum depth and back support (or affixed to a wall)
  • Elevator buttons at least 1 ¼” in diameter
  • Development of O & M manual for maintenance staff to ensure all replacement and repairs are completed in a universally sensitive manner