Technology may help but Country Club neighborhoods still face gate challenges

dgraham@bradenton.comMay 17, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Silverwood resident Tom Willson came armed with solutions just as Community Development District 6, representing Country Club West, was voting to close the Balmoral Gate House at its Thursday meeting.

Technology Willison suggested may solve the issue of visitor access, while leaving other thorny considerations unanswered for District 5, serving Country Club, and District 2, serving Country Club and Edgewater.

"The issue is not guest ingress and egress," said District 5 Supervisor Alan Silverglat. "The major issue is the movement of the commercial traffic from the Balmoral gate to the Legacy Gate, and the wear and tear that puts on the District 2 and 5 roads, and the traffic delays it will create at the Legacy gate."

District 6 board member Jane Bruyer asked if vehicles without transponders would be able to exit Balmoral and was told they would not.

Willson alerted the board to new technology that allows residents to grant temporary access codes to guests through the Internet and mobile phone technology. The access codes expire after a given time, allowing greater security.

In response, the District 6 board agreed to consider his report and attempt to find a better solution to simple transponder use when the gate house is slated to be closed in January.

"It's a very flexible, secure system. The guards at the gate aren't involved," Willson said.

"These codes expire so they're not out there," said District 6 homeowners' association secretary Jim Rogoze. "It's like a one-time use kind of thing so your guest doesn't have the inconvenience but the community doesn't have the issue with security."

District 6 Chairman Robert Burstein said Willson provided encouraging information.

At the District 5 meeting, Chairman Dave Emison expressed reservations about how District 6 had addressed visitor access. He also questioned if District 6 could restrict a gate to just its own residents.

"If they decided they didn't want a gate any more, and they took it down, letting everybody come in, how then would that impact the rest of the country club residents?" Emison said. "Because it is a closed gate at this time. I think this needs to be discussed before anything is done."

Balmoral traffic patterns were in existence when the homes were purchased, Silverglat said, "so it's not like somehow they bought their homes and Balmoral road was built. To change the status quo unilaterally is an interesting position."

Dee Graham, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7024 or twitter @DeeGrahamBH.

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