By Carolyn Weber It's not easy to design an environmentally sensitive land plan that includes 120 entry-level homes. But that's what was done at The Vineyards, part of the master plan of Westchase. This unique subdivision uses a fairly dense cluster plan to preserve more than 38 percent of the 18.8-acre community for open space.

Through the gated entry, the visual sequence begins with water as the main road winds past a large lake. Although the lake is private, Land Planner David Jensen, of David Jensen and Associates in Denver, created a water walk and gazebo so residents can still enjoy it. The road continues past a large conservation area of Cypress-filled wetlands. "To lessen the feel of density, the main road has views to open spaces," says Phil Stuepfert, senior vice president of David Jensen and Associates. "Although the community isn't large, the open space makes it read much larger."

The neo-traditional-style homes, priced from $140,000 to $177,000, sit on narrow 35-by-80-foot lots. Jensen was careful to place them so that no homes back to the main street. "Another key was to face most of them toward the wetlands, the woods, or the lake," says Jensen. The exceptions are the four model homes just beyond the entry and several units that face an interior common space that Jensen calls a meet-and-greet area.

Photo: Courtesy Eckel Advertising

The concept encourages interaction among residents--young families, first-time buyers, and move downs. "There are plenty of common spaces for community interaction," says Jensen, "It's a great organization for young and older people." Walkways, which meander through the development, along the wetlands, past open spaces, and to the pool, tie the community together. Category: Single-family detached community; Entrant/Land Planner/Landscape Architect: David Jensen Associates, Denver; Builder/ Developer/Architect: Westfield Homes of Florida, Tampa, Fla.

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