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Gated communities: Do they belong in Hayward?

The gate debate going on at Woodland Knolls, which we covered today, raises a more general question about city planning.

Should city governments be promoting or discouraging the creation of gated communities in their midst?

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Woodland Knolls’ Durham Way (photo of one of its homes at left) is a private street, though it used to be a public one. Proponents and opponents of the security gate there are gearing up to present their opinions to the Hayward Planning Commission tomorrow. And if you’re really interested, you can see some of their written comments, petitions and a blueprint for the gate in this 102-page PDF.

But we’re wondering what you think about gated communities generally. Do they improve or decrease real estate values? Do they work at reducing crime? What are the costs, or benefits, to the community as a whole? And what is government’s role?