By Steve Kilar
The Baltimore Sun
5:05 PM EST, November 15, 2012
The National Fair Housing Alliance and Paralyzed Veterans of America announced Wednesday that they have settled a federal housing discrimination suit against a Virginia real estate developer.
The groups claimed HHHunt Corp. built several apartment complexes, including one in Maryland, without respect for accessibility requirements.
HHHunt will make the complexes accessible within the next three years and has agreed to pay its opponents’ attorneys’ fees, according to a statement from the groups.
The organizations’ lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act alleged that HHHunt “engaged in a continuous pattern or practice of discrimination against people with disabilities since 2002 by designing and/or constructing multifamily dwellings, and common- and public-use areas, without required accessibility features,” the statement said.
Abberly Crest, an apartment complex in Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County, is included in the settlement. Eight other complexes in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are also part of the agreement.
“When the thresholds for entry doors are too high or sidewalk slopes are hazardously steep, people with disabilities are effectively and illegally shut out,” said Shanna L. Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “The Fair Housing Act provides clear and straightforward standards for all developers, architects and engineers to follow.”
“We’re very pleased the HHHunt Corporation has agreed to make the necessary changes to make these properties accessible for all people,” said Bill Lawson, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“Paralyzed Veterans will continue to work to ensure that housing discrimination of any kind is not tolerated,” he said.
The plaintiffs still have active claims against J. Davis Architects, a North Carolina-based architecture firm that designed at least one of the complexes addressed in the settlement with HHHunt, according to the partnership’s statement.
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