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?


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?

  • craig

    Barbara Erenriech says that people who live in homes which are over 2500 sq. ft. ususally have people who come in to clean. These workerrs almost always don’t have health care coverage. Maybe they should pay a local health care fee otherwise it’s the general population who eventually covers their tab at the emergency room.

  • Like many people, I didn’t find out last night’s hearing on the security gate was postponed until I went to it. The hearing has been rescheduled to April 24 (7:30 p.m.), and we’ll have an update once we get more information on why there was a last-minute cancellation.

  • Tentatively rescheduled for April 24, but if there is a change or postponement, be sure to ask Dave Rizk at David.Rizk@hayward-ca.gov to phone and email to avoid a repeat of what happened Thursday — an announcement at the meeting that the agenda item was postponed. Kudos to Commissioner Mendall for the suggestion and Mr. Rizk for agreeing.

    Now as for the gate, with all the traffic speeding up and down Oakes Drive without regard to the stop signs, there should be speed humps at every intersection to control those who cannot control themselves.

    Or, better yet, a gate at both ends of Oakes Drive at Campus and Fairview would solve that problem and eliminate the need for not only speed humps but for the Woodland Knolls HOA to install their intended gate. Instead of only 17 homes sharing the expense of the proposed gate, for the cost of only one incremental gate, 358 homes would be protected from “outsiders” inconsiderate disregard … or are those speeders from outside … hmmm … maybe they are residents inside the neighborhood … then we could gate every side street as well … that would surely solve the problem. Absurdity to the extreme!

    But these gates give the impression there is something of value behind them, like the massive steel doors on bank vaults … the allure is all the greater to those looking to take our valuable stuff. The solution is no gates … walls, gates, border fences … Berlin, Israel, Mexico … there are civilized means other than walling ourselves off from humanity and isolationism … boxing ourselves in … shutting others out … literally, virtually and figuratively … our society has suffered from increasing isolationism during the past 50 years. Enough … think outside the box …

    Our collective psyche is at a tipping point. Woodland Knolls — like the melting glaciers and polar ice sheets — is a “canary in the coal mine.”

    We live in the “mine.”

  • bud

    A major concern which many of us have is that the approval of the durham gate would set a precedent which would generate countless future requests for gates. Take 2nd street as an example. We know people on streets such as June Marie ct and Canyon View drive will be requesting permission to build gates at the corner of their streets with 2nd street if the city rules in favor of the Durham gate. How could the city say no to these requests if they say yes to the Durham gate. Do we want our city to be known as the city of gates.
    We certainly hope that as many people as possible attend the April 24th planning council meeting to voice their opposition to the proposed Durham gate

  • monica ruiz

    How about a neighborhood watch group? That’s what the rest of US have to do…

    WE ALL have the same issues no matter what part of the city WE live in.

  • bud

    i agree with monica- why haven’t the woodland knolls people ever considered a neighborhood watch program. i strongly believe that their desire for a gate is based more on an increase in property values. perhaps part of their desire is based upon their need to feel elite. i drove through woodland knolls today and was shocked to see that some of the strongest proponets of the gate already have huge, very expensive locked gates in front of their homes. if these proponents of the gate so strongly about the need for a gated lifestyle, why did they purchase a home in an ungated area rather than moving into an area which is already gated

  • TheVoice

    Let us get more patrols up there to give out more tickets to the offenders, the homeowners must get to know each other and form a watch group up in their neighborhood. Everyone has to be vigilant and aware among thier immediate surroundings. Use the system to resolve the issues. Stay away from isolation.

  • As a deterrent to intruders, security gates serve an excellent purpose. However, by no means is a gate a panacea for all security issues. From a real estate perspective, as a Real Estate Broker, my assessment is that value depends on the individual buying into the community. There is no general method to add value to property simply because a particular property or development is gated. Having lived in both environments, and presently living in a non-gated development, I prefer a gated environment. I reason that any impediment to criminal intrusion is better than none. Moreover, gated environments usually involve Homeowner’s Associations responsible for adhering to the best interests of all residents living in the community. Certainly, at least for the gated community residents, a better living environment is no detriment.

  • bud

    do you know that a number of woodland knolls homeowners are passionately opposed to the gate including a 87 year old grandmother that fears that the gate might well cause a life-ending ambulance delay
    i reckon the key question is should someone be gated in against their will

  • Hi Bud,

    No. I did not know that a large percentage of residents opposed a gated community; however, my comment was based on my experience, and not indicative of any particular community including Woodland Knolls. Yes, I am sure, under certain circumstances a gated community might be detrimental, but certainly, at least in some form, the concerns you bring to light can be mitigated to some extent.

  • mlsmith00

    Did you know that less than 36 hours after the Hayward planning commission voted not to approve the application, three youths are now hospitalized in a local hospital with serious injuries after speeding on Durham Way late at night last night and failing to navigate a curve? Bud – get your facts straight. First, out of 17 homeowners in Woodland Knolls, 12 voted for the gate and 5 against. Many have had numerous breakins during the day, mail theft, vandalism, etc. Teens routinely park on the road at night, drink, do drugs and have sex. This is not about property values. The police do not patrol this private road, although you can spot them frequently on neighboring Oakes.

    What is it going to take to prove the point that this is about security and safety. Perhaps the rest of you don’t realize that Bud has a personal agenda here – his home is on Oakes just outside of Durham Way.

  • monica ruiz

    My street is a 25 mph residential street. Every day hundreds of cars travel at 35 mph or more. There have been numerous collisions and cars ending up in residents front yards. Teens routinely drive and walk on my street and drink, do drugs and sex also. We hardly ever see the hpd only when they are answering a call. Can we also have a gate in my neighborhood? My point is that every neighborhood has problems and challenges and we all want to feel safe and secure but I believe some of you are bordering on paranoia. “Paranoia will destoy ya.”

  • Monica, what street is that? I live on Sixth Street off D there is always a car accident there the speed limit is 25 and people go 40!

  • Along with Mlsmith’s comment above, I also received an email from a Woodland Knolls resident about the incident that happened there a couple days ago. The e-mailer wrote: “Only two nights after the Hayward Planning Commission voted against our gate, a non-resident of Durham Way crashed into our fire hydrant in the middle of the morning and our neighbor’s truck was broken into. The police have already told us they don’t have the manpower to patrol the area and the Planning Commission in their ultimate wisdom voted against our security gate. I have no idea what we’re expected to do?”