CLOSING GATES? SAVING
October 19, 2012
latest hype in a saving frenzy by association boards seems to be
the closing – or partial closing -- of gates in communities
that have more than one gate.
before going into the discussion whether a board has the right
to close – or partially close – existing gates, let’s
discuss the actual “security” in gated communities.
my opinion the security in gated communities is totally
overrated. The security provided by gates is minimal,
considering that most communities don’t have a fence/wall all
around the community. Many gated communities can be entered
without the use of the gates – even by car. Statistics show
that residing in a “gated community” gives many owners a
false sense of security. A statistic from
even showed that the bad guys are targeting gated communities
because many owners let their “guard” down, relying on the
fact that they live – and pay for security – in a gated
“gated” community creates as well a serious liability for
the homeowners owning property within such community – if the
security doesn’t work as promised.
had to pay huge amounts of punitive damages after being sued by
owners/renters for lack of promised security. The case of Vazquez
v. Lago Grande Homeowners Association is just one
communities are just another example for “beware
what you wish for”!
once the gates are established and even used to lure potential
buyers into buying property in this community, can the board
just decide to close these gates – or close them from 12
midnight to 6 a.m. – without a membership vote?
Personally I don’t think so, because the gates are – like
amenities – part of the sales gimmicks used to lure potential
buyers. People select certain lots because they are close to a
gate – especially in big communities. Not being able to use
the gate just near your home can cause your gas bill to go up
and up and may prolong your trip to work by miles and time. So,
how about if your board just votes to close the convenient gate
near you without a membership vote? You will be up in arms –
and rightfully so. Such decisions should be made by the
membership – and not by a few board members who happen to live
near the main gate that stays open.
The battle about closing gates will even get worse if the gate
in question is the gate used by school kids to reach their
school within walking distance – a distance that will turn
into a six-mile walk if that gate is closed, forcing kids to
walk on busy public roads. And the war is on if the board
claiming to close the gate to save money is facing a hostile
crowd willing to supply volunteer services to man the gate –
free of charge.
the moment when homeowners start to think that this board has
different motives to close the gate – not just financial
savings. The discussion about this gate may end up as a headline
in the local TV newscast and give your community a black-eye:
parents, Brooksville HOA battle over gate
matter right or wrong, board members should always consider
asking the membership to vote on such controversial issues.
Dictatorial decisions turn the nicest communities into war
zones. And property values in war zones are pretty low –
wouldn’t you agree?