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Thread: Gated. Is it a fair use of funds?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Gated. Is it a fair use of funds?

    If a community wants to use the public’s money by having the county to pave roads, provide services, designate land use, be personal planners, be an economic catalyst in the interest of the land owners, etc, etc…

    Should they be allowed to gate their community off from the very public that help fund and build the beautiful community?

    If no, then how do we allow gated communities that use ANY public money? And I have yet to see one that hasn’t.

    This is just a philosophical question, I am not looking for an answer, rather thoughts on the matter.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Personally, I don't think it is fair. It is kind of territorial, like a kid saying 'this is my corner of the sandbox and you can't play here', and yet that kid came along after the sandbox was already built!

    I agree with those who say 'gated community' is an oxymoron.

    I will be reading an article tonight entitled: 'Elite Estates: NZ's booming gated community trend'. Will advise if it provides any new angles.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    If they want a gated community let them pay for it themselves. There should be NO public subsidy of the roads or the water and sewer systems, NO relief from impact fees or land dedication requirements, NO police patrols of the private streets, NO exceptions to subdivision standards (including multiple access points into the neighborhood, etc.
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    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    i tend to agree with cardinal on this one.

    Gated communities are purposely limiting the general public the right of access to publicly owned roads. The gates are saying that we are exclusive we don't want to deal with anything outside the bounds of our subdivision.

    Let the HOA govern the subdivision.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    what about other county services, like fire and police??

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by H
    what about other county services, like fire and police??
    My guess is that they would have to be covered, but general police work like patrolling, noise complaints, etc should be done by a private security company. The police should not be spending time in a gated community unless they are serving a warrant, interrogating witnesses, etc.

    I agree with Cardinal and others that no public monies should be spent on roads, etc.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I agree as well, just confirming my thoughts. There is a gated community here (in FLA) that is raising a big stink and wanting the county to step in and act as a catalyst for improvement and development (like road paving, building a new school (not that it needs a school in the childless retirement area rather they feel a school would encourage development), rezoning, implementing and servicing a “village shopping district” and etc, etc..) But they refuse to open there gates and let the public in to use there nice lake pier, marina facilities and beach. So the public is good enough to pay the bill, but not use the facilities.

    This particular place is in the middle of nowhere and is and has been struggling since the land speculators from Miami lost there change on it in the 60's.

    To top matters off, the residents are split on their opinions. The multi-land owning half are the initiators and want action, while the other half just want to be left alone and spend their retirement in peace. But they (mostly) all want it gated off the public.

    Oh, and the county officials like the idea of “helping” development so it is going to happen and I will be working on it. I like the ideas people have about it, I just think there should be public access to the facilities if public money is being spent.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Gated or not, new subdivision roads and utitlties are costs that should be borne by the development. The revenue generated by water/sewer bills is for mainenance not infrastructure.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ludes98
    Gated or not, new subdivision roads and utitlties are costs that should be borne by the development. The revenue generated by water/sewer bills is for mainenance not infrastructure.
    Correct. The initial installation is entirely the responsibility of the developer/land-owner(s). The only exception is the cost of installing larger facilities providing benefit to others outside of the subdivision, in which case the city should pick up only the incremental increase in cost.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian Big Easy King's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    If they want a gated community let them pay for it themselves. There should be NO public subsidy of the roads or the water and sewer systems, NO relief from impact fees or land dedication requirements, NO police patrols of the private streets, NO exceptions to subdivision standards (including multiple access points into the neighborhood, etc.
    I agree that gated communities should not be receive public subsidies for roadway maintenance, water and/or sewer systems, or any other necessary infrastucture, as well as not receive the relief. There are a few of these "communities" in New Orleans, some of which were unfortunately approved with only one access point. Most of those communities are special taxing districts, created through referendums and subsequent City ordinances. The taxing districts provide the private financial wherewithal for those communities to maintain and sustain the necessary infrastructure. Even though I disagree with the gated community concept, I'm pleased that those communities pay for their own infrastructure and services via becoming special taxing districts.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    They need to take gated communities one step further. Put their own schools, police, fire, commercial services, etc and everything else that unifies a community behind those gates and may they never come out and mix with the common folk.
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  12. #12
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella
    They need to take gated communities one step further. Put their own schools, police, fire, commercial services, etc and everything else that unifies a community behind those gates and may they never come out and mix with the common folk.
    Anyone seen that B movie with Emilio Estevez called "Freejack"?

    I have seen some developments that actually approach this level you describe Planderella. Enormous leapfrog projects (sprawl is status quo here) that have all the elements you describe. Mini cities if they were to incorporate.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    In a favourite book of mine, Snow Crash (thanks to SkeL for the recommendation), set in the USA in the not-too-distant future, all suburbs have become franchised and have high-tech security systems to protect them

    EDIT: forgot to mention the 'burbclaves' in the book were fully privatised.
    Last edited by JNL; 18 Feb 2004 at 5:33 PM.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ludes98
    Anyone seen that B movie with Emilio Estevez called "Freejack"?
    Yes, freaky.....

    BOT: No public funds should be spent on infrastructure the paying public can't use (like others have posted), ever! I thought that these communities had HOAs that paid for these services anyway.

    I've also heard that these communties are targeted by the above average criminal, because there is no street activity during the day (or anybody home) and rent-a-cops can be easily fooled by disguised masterminds posing as a utility company, etc. A false sense of security for those afraid to interact daily with their neighbors and society in general, and don't care about their neighbors business & well being . The same can be said about the average suburb.

    OT: I noticed in Florida, that a lot of kids like to go pool hopping from place to place. Seems like fun
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    gated is bad, m'kay.

    so what about when gated communities decide to "de-gate" becasue the HOA cant balance the ole budget (duh) and they turn everything back over to the county (or other local gov)? Should the county be able to say too bad, TS and good luck or are they obligated to take over at that point.

    In most cases I know the gov takes it. Has anyone seen one that has not?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    gated is bad, m'kay.

    so what about when gated communities decide to "de-gate" becasue the HOA cant balance the ole budget (duh) and they turn everything back over to the county (or other local gov)? Should the county be able to say too bad, TS and good luck or are they obligated to take over at that point.

    In most cases I know the gov takes it. Has anyone seen one that has not?
    They "de-gate", and the county assesses the property at the market rate and collects the fair value property taxes from it.

    Once they "de-gate", and hand the services over to the county, its public property, so they'll have to pay for all county services reguardless of the service or projects nature.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    gated is bad, m'kay.

    so what about when gated communities decide to "de-gate" becasue the HOA cant balance the ole budget (duh) and they turn everything back over to the county (or other local gov)? Should the county be able to say too bad, TS and good luck or are they obligated to take over at that point.

    In most cases I know the gov takes it. Has anyone seen one that has not?
    The thing to watch out for is that the infrastructure was originally constructed to the city's standards. Many of the developers I encounter want private roads because they can get away with putting down four inches of base and two inches of asphalt instead of eight and three. They may also skip putting in curb and sidewalk, using smaller diameter water mains and sewers, skimping on street lighting, etc. All of these have costs down the road in terms of added maintenance and shorter life spans. As soon as roads begin to fail the HOA wants the city to take over so that the city can pick up the cost instead of them, the idiots who bought something substandard in the first place.

    Now, if it were me :d: I would agree to having the city take over. I would tear down the gates and fix up their infrastructure. I would also special assess every penny of the cost to them.
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    booming gated community trend'
    This trend is also getting very common in India.
    I live in a small community( I'll call it a neighborhood) with 144 lots( we call them plots here) and ground plus two detached housing in each of them. A few years back the residents welfare association started improving the road condition, designed and developed beautiful parks, organised community meets, themed events and get togethers etc.
    Suddenly with the upgradation of the physical environment, the land prices have started zooming, through traffic increased tremendously, more people started coming into our locality for morning walks and jogs and brought along their dogs who found our raodsides and parks perfect places to relieve themselves ( and also to the satisfaction of thier owners i guess).
    LAst year after a tough interactive meet within, it was decided that gates be put up. We have around ten gates which are all open in the day and only one in the late night( Single access in the night time).
    Security guys( they aren't very tough really) patrol the streets in the day and in the night) these are paid by the association.
    As a planner I told my association office bearers that gates were illegal as the roads and the other infrastrcutre facilites are city properties.
    I feel exclusive but uncomfortable within these gates by stopping access to the neighbouring communities. But it has reduced a lot of nuisance which was seeming to build up too much.

    I think land locked communities cannot be gated . This way no comunity can be gated at all.we dont live in islands here.( there may be exceptions though in cases we refer locally as group housing and integrated townships)

    I think its a social issue and divides the city clearly physically.

    But then these are best selling concepts today.

    So What do we do??
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  19. #19
    I think that gates are not the correct fix to the problems that "Doitnow!!" mentioned. If there are problems with dogs crapping all over, then alert the police to the problem, post "no pets" signs, confront those who ignore it. I always have a problem when people don't get to the root of the problem. We have a local mall that has a theater and there have been a handful of incidents at this theater and all the residents wanted the City to revoke the theater's business and occupancy permits. Well the problem isn't the theater, its the few bad people that act like jackasses at the theater. The mall has stepped up security and has kicked out those who don't abide by the mall's code of conduct. Guess what? There hasn't been an incident there in a long time. I think that is what should happen in situations where people are abusing parks/neighborhoods. Deal with those who cause problems and eventually the problems will go away.
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Its a disturbing trend...

    I just returned from south Florida where there are a lot of these gated enclaves. An old friend just bought in one. Socially speaking, I think it is a disturbing trend for a "free and open society", that much of humanity is deemed threatening by one group, so they feel they must keep them away from their turf. Of course marking turf is a primitive instinct. Medieval towns had gates too.

    Aesthetically, many of the gates and guardhouses I saw are quite lavish and beautiful, lushly landscaped with fountains and all the doodads. They do create a marked edge between the "community" and the outside world, which is often lacking in our built environments. It does give one a sense of moving into another realm, although one could argue that the differences are superficial. It does convey the sense of priviledge and success that they are trying to convey. Elitism sells quite well in most western societies, and apparently in India and China now too. Having had my fill of people I'd rather not deal with, I can understand the appeal of gated communities. With the retreat from public life we see in the US, it is no wonder gating is so popular.

    Often these communities are loaded with amenities like clubhouses, pools, tennis courts. If an HOA folds and a municipality takes over, doesn't that leave some parts of town very well endowed with public facilities and some parts without? How do you even out the disparity? With overtaxed muni budgets, more than likely many amenities will be eliminated, possibly causing a loss in value to the homeowners.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella
    They need to take gated communities one step further. Put their own schools, police, fire, commercial services, etc and everything else that unifies a community behind those gates and may they never come out and mix with the common folk.
    I thought this was the idea behind suburbs?

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    I quite agree to Repo Man that gates are not the solution at all. I myself am not comfortable with the idea.

    My locality was established around twenty years ago.and its only now that the gates have sprung up.

    Nowadays the new neighbourhoods publicise themsleves as gated ones and show exclusivity. Thats one thing which is increasing.

    The gates not only define the boundary but also instill a sense of security within the small community we live in here. I think there are pros and cons but as a planner I would dissapprove of them.

    I also feel the theres something wrong with the overall plan and management of that region which leads to such gated communes.
    With overtaxed muni budgets, more than likely many amenities will be eliminated, possibly causing a loss in value to the homeowners
    My city has a huge budget and its increasing every year. The local Municipal Corporation spends huge amounts in the overall cleanliness, greening, fountains parks etc. Its just that the city is so huge that there are pockets where the local RWA( Residents Welfare Associations) { I think by HOA u mean the House OWners association- correct me if I am wrong} take over and dont w2ait for teh government to reach them .
    This hybrid partnership is what is called the Public- Private- People partnership here in India nowadays. Its more out of compulsion than proactive planning.

    I know that the capital city of delhi( India) went on a gating spree around a decade ago as there was a steep rise in crimes and especially against senior citizens. The whole concept of the Public Right of Way has gone for a toss in many cities.
    I'm sure these can be challenged in courts. Just that nobody is doing that.
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  23. #23
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    EDIT: moved comment about ways to block development of GCs to a new thread
    Last edited by JNL; 08 Mar 2004 at 4:46 PM.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    I tend to agree with the most of the above posts. In some places gated areas have their place, ie. some denser populated areas (inner cities) IMO. However, this is a bit different than the "Gated Suburb Community". Typically, these gated complexes do not use City funds for maintenance.

    All public roads should be just that, PUBLIC ROADS. If access of a road is limited by individuals for their benefit it should not be an accepted public improvement, and the individuals should be responsible for the maintenance of the road not citizens who are denied access to its benefits.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    I quite agree Vlaude. In fact if I will try to convinve my RWA( where I live) to pull down a wall( our community has gates as well as walls-Walled Community) which has been conveniently used by the end lot owner as parking and a a street garden.
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