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The gate on Durham Way

The Hayward City Council will ultimately decide whether the proposed gate across Durham Way passes muster. But on Monday, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District will discuss the gate and its impact on district trails. What are your thoughts on the gate?

Jason Sweeney

  • bud

    This is the third in a series of articles which focus upon whether our city is inclusive or exclusive as pertaining to the proposed Durham Way security gate.
    Who will benefit from the proposed Durham Way security gate?
    A total of ten households residing in Woodland Knolls will benefit from the proposed gate. It should be pointed out however that three of these households already have huge gate/fences around their compounds.
    Extract taken from the Woodland Knolls Homeoweners association, January 22,2007 minutes prior to the association vote on the gate
    Woodland Knolls resident “Ron Allen introduced real estate agent Bill Parker who discussed sales information he had gleaned that afternoon from the internet regarding six properties, four gated and two non-gated. Mr Parker believes that installing an entrance gate would substantially increase the property values on Durham Way”

    WHO WILL SUFFER AS A RESULT OF THE PROPOSED GATE
    countless people residing in the Hayward hills who do not want to be gated in against their will-Security gate advocates in hillside communities such as Bailey Ranch, Prominence, Woodland Estates as well as numerous other hillside communities certainly hope the the Hayward City Council will establish a precedent by voting in favor of the proposed Durham Way security gate. If the security gate is approved, these individuals will push hard for gates in their own respective hillside communities. The plight of the five families in Woodland Knolls who do not want to be gated in against their will will be multiplied many times over

  • bud

    This is the second in a series of articles which focus upon whether our city is inclusive or exclusive as pertaining to the proposed Durham Way security gate.
    Who will benefit from the proposed Durham Way security gate?
    A total of ten households residing in Woodland Knolls will benefit from the proposed gate. It should be pointed out however that three of these households already have huge gate/fences around their compounds.
    Extract taken from the Woodland Knolls Homeoweners association, January 22,2007 minutes prior to the association vote on the gate
    Woodland Knolls resident “Ron Allen introduced real estate agent Bill Parker who discussed sales information he had gleaned that afternoon from the internet regarding six properties, four gated and two non-gated. Mr Parker believes that installing an entrance gate would substantially increase the property values on Durham Way”

    WHO WILL SUFFER AS A RESULT OF THE PROPOSED GATE
    the hundreds of children who participate in the H>A>R>D> sponsored Camp Pottowatamie Program will suffer if the proposed gate is built. One of the major components of the Camp Pottowatamie Program involves a four mile nature hike from East Avenue Park, along the Ward Creek Trail and down an ajoining trail. Imagine being a young eight year old feeling one with nature and then suddenly encountering a $100,000 newly installed security gate which separates the two publicly maintained trails

  • bud

    good afternoon
    this is the first in a series of articles which focus upon whether our city is inclusive or exclusive as pertaining to the proposed Durham Way security gate
    WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE PROPOSED DURHAM WAY SECURITY GATE?
    a total of ten households residing in Woodland Knolls will benefit from the proposed gate. it should be pointed out however that three of these ten households already have huge gate/fences around their compounds
    WHO WILL SUFFER AS A RESULT OF THE PROPOSED SECURITY GATE
    the approximately 50 million Americans covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act will suffer if the gate is built. Currently, numerous disabled parents and grandparents drive to the Ward Creek trail head located more than two hundred yards in from the junction of Oakes Dr and Durham Way in order to pick up their children or grandchildren. If the gate is approved by the city council and consequently built, numerous individuals protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act will no longer be able to pick up their children or grandchildren as they have been in the habit of doing. The Ward Creek Trail is a publicly owned and maintained trail. The construction of the proposed security gate goes against the spirit of the Americans With Disabilities Act and in all probability violates legal provisions as well.
    would city council approval of the proposed gate be viewed as an inclusive or exclusive action

  • monica ruiz

    No on the security gate for all the reasons mentioned above.

  • hwdresident

    BACKGROUND
    When this community was developed in 1965, Durham Way was a public street. The only section that was private was the section directly pertaining to 17 Woodland Knolls homeowners.

    Thirty years later, in 1996 some Woodland Knolls Homeowners proposed to construct a security gate.

    CEQA STUDY 1996
    As part of this application Tim Koonze conducted a CEQA study where he found that the project would provide unrestricted access to the pedestrian/ equestrian access to the park trails, public facilities and utilities are available to serve the project and there would not result in substantial topographic changes and the site does NOT support any KNOWN fish or WILDLIFE habitats.

    In short, Mr. Koonze found that the project would not have a significant impact and recommended the project go forward.

    CITY COUNCIL MEETING 1997- VACATING DURHAM WAY
    At the City Council meeting of February 11, 1997 it was determined that “since a public street may not be gated, the City Council needs to vacate the public street portion of Durham Way prior to the approval of the security fence and automatic gate”.

    CITY COUNCIL MEETING 1997- CONDITIONS SET FORTH
    At the same City Council meeting of February 11, 1997 it was further determined that “Prior to the City recording the street vacation, the adjacent property owner, who owns the underlying title for the public street, will deed the property to the Woodland Knolls Homeowners Association”. “The resolution of the street vacation reserves a pedestrian and equestrian access easement for the HARD trail..” “The maintenance of the street will be the responsibility of the Woodland Knolls Homeowners Association”.

    CITY HAD NO LEGAL RIGHT
    It is strongly felt by many that the City had no legal right to vacate the public portion Durham Way. This act deprived the general public of full access to the park trails for which HAD BEEN their right for over 30 years.

    CODE 21101.6
    Although Gov Code 37359 and 37361 gives the city the right to vacate land, code 21101.6 specifically prohibits the City to vacate the land for the use of a selected few.

    Durham Way belongs to the general public and should not be closed off for the exclusive use of 17 homeowners.

    CALIFORNIA COURTS REVERSE VACATING OF STREETS-
    In the California case, Citizens Against Gated Enclaves (23 Cal.app.4th812), the Court of Appeal affirmed that the City had no authority to withdraw the street from public use and held that 21101.6 prohibits the City from exercising its power to withdraw a street from public use to allow homeowners to construct gates.

    The Court also noted that the City was well advised that a street may not be vacated for the exclusive private use.

    Furthermore, the Court warned that “a petitioner cannot try to avoid 21101.6 by claiming that the street was vacated”.

    In another California case, City of Lafayette v County of Contra Costa, (91 CalApp.3d749) the court affirmed that the streets of a city belong to the people of the state and every citizen of the state has a right to the use.

    In respect to Durham Way, the Asst City Attorney first indicated that whether it was right or wrong, it is to late to do anything about it. After disagreeing with her she later stated that she read the statutes and the caselaw and she said that they don’t apply because “the street was a private street”.

    SAY IT AINT SO JOE!
    We all can agree that the street was public for over 30 years before this gate application came before the City; and before the street became private for the sole purpose of installing this gate.

    CONDITIONS NOT MET/INITIAL APPLICATION EXPIRED
    Aside from the grave error the City made in vacating a public street we also claim that the conditions of the 1997 resolutions may have never been met, thus making the resolution of vacating of Durham Way VOID.

    The resolutions were not filed until March 11, 2005. This is nearly a decade after the initial application was filed and nearly a decade after the conditions were set forth by the City Council. NO DOCUMENTATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SHOWING THAT ALL THE CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN SATISFIED.

    THE COMMUNITY
    The gate comes at the direct expense of general public and benefits only seventeen homeowners.

    Back in 1996 Mr. Koonz’ study found that there would not be a substantial impact and the City Council’s resolutions were conditionally approved. The study and the resolutions could have made sense at the time they were issued but much has changed.

    Population in Hayward has increased substantially since 1997. Hayward Hills have acquired new housing tracks such as Prominence, Bailey Ranch, Stonebrae and other tracks in the unincorporated areas. There are thousands of additional residents.

    PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO FULL ACCESS TO TRAILS
    Many Woodland Knolls Association members have stated that their proposed gate will continue to allow their neighbors the direct access to the park trails.

    As neighbors, we are very pleased that THEY will ALLOW us to use the Hayward Parks and Recs trails. UNFORTUNATELY, we must remind everyone that the trails belong to the general public and ALL shall have full access, not just their neighbors.

    PARKING
    Although the proposed gate will have an opening allowing foot and horse traffic, we must also consider car traffic. It is naive and simplistic to believe that pedestrians who visit the park trails do not come in vehicles. Most trail visitors come in vehicles with bicycles mounted on their vehicles. The visitors typically park their vehicles; dismount their bicycles and head down the trails leaving their vehicles parked. They leave their vehicles parked either on Durham or Oakes Drive.

    We also have Scout troops and school children on field trips visiting the trails. These children do not come walking but instead come in groups of vehicles.

    Realistically, the only visitors who do not come in vehicles are the neighbors privileged to live adjacent to the trails, or the few who do come on horses.

    As it stands today, if a visitor comes to the trails and parks his vehicle on Durham Way he is trespassing.

    DIVIDING COMMUNITIES WITH THE GATE
    There is no doubt that communities throughout the United States have changed in the last decade. Population has increased almost everywhere. The economy has taken a down turn. Jobs are decreasing, crime is increasing.

    With all that said, this is one of the friendliest communities and the quality of life here is one of the best. Seldom are there police calls or serious crime in community.

    Not to say that we are oblivious to our surroundings. We are not. However, when put this in perspective, the crime here is seldom. Crime up here is not at all comparable to the crime below Mission Blvd. Folks up here feel comfortable to take leisurely strolls late at night and also relax with out the echoes of siren sounds.

    The Woodland Knolls Association proposes a security gate in order to protect themselves from the crime and from night cruisers. The Association has indicated that police force members agreed that a security fence would decrease crime and also decrease cruising. We all can agree that a gate may decrease these activities.

    But the decrease would be minimal as compared to the cost. The cost to the general public is substantial as it deprives them of their rights to a public street that leads to a public park.

    The cost to the surrounding neighbors outside of the gate is extremely high as it deprives us of the quality of life we bought into when we purchased our home.

    If a new community was being developed and the plans called for a gated community, then all of those who purchase a home in this community are expecting a security gate. The security gate is not being forced upon them after establishing roots in the community but instead bargained for when purchasing the home.

    In closing, we have pointed out in several ways that we believe that:

    1) City was prohibited from vacating the street for the purposes of a security gate. And the GENERAL VACATION PROCEDURE 8321 allows the act of vacating a street to be set aside. There are just to many “oddities” and nothing is transparent and when questioned, “clerical error” was given as a reason. Clerical error or not, a public agency must be held to a standard and pass the transparency or smell test.

    2) If the City’s vacating was somehow found permissible , then we continue to raise the issue that the resolutions were only conditional and the conditions may have never been satisfied. It is claimed that there was no performance on the part of the Woodland knolls Association. The vacating became expired and not enforceable.

    3) We respectfully request the City to do the right thing. Give Durham Way back to the general public so that they don’t become illegal trespassers when visiting the park trails.

    4) And please do not approve any gate that will impede “adequate” access to our parks.