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East County Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013 4 years ago

District revisits gatehouse options

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Whether roads in the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club should be considered public or private continues to be discussed.

But, supervisors on Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 6 may have found an interim solution to their efforts to making the gate at Lakewood Ranch and Balmoral Woods boulevards transponder-access only.

During an agenda-review workshop Monday, Supervisor Richard Williams proposed reducing security at the gatehouse to one shift, from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in September, and to install a motion sensor or pressure plate under pavers so the gate could automatically open when a visitor vehicle approaches and the gate is unattended.

The gate would remain transponder-only access from 10:30 p.m. until 6:30 a.m., as it is now.

No gate attendant would be used effective Oct. 1 under Williams’ proposal. Instead, gates would automatically open for visitors, through sensor technology.

“I’m just suggesting we save the $80,000 (on a gate attendant) and continue the access,” Williams said, noting gate attendants cannot restrict access into the country club.

Following discussions with fellow supervisors, Williams said he would also offer an option to include a five-day, four-hour shift, from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday starting in October, to accommodate peak traffic for contractors and others.

Supervisors will vote on the issue at Thursday’s regular meeting.

Supervisor James Hill had offered a similar idea, but with a more phased approach. Starting in September, the gate would be attended from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and would remain unattended completely Saturdays and Sundays. Automatic sensor-driven entry and exit for daytime hours — 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. — would be implemented starting in October, with transponder-only entry from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The board would evaluate the plans and adopt a formal policy in November.

Both plans depart from CDD 6’s plan to make the Balmoral Woods Boulevard gate transponder-access only, at least for now, in an effort to save money. Both also recommend adding signage to inform visitors they are being video-recorded as they pass through the gate.

“It (provides) easier access; the signs heighten security awareness,” Hill said. “I don’t think this will have any impact on the other gates (in the country club).”

CDD 6 attorney Andy Cohen informed supervisors July 15, during the board workshop, that based on discussions with officials from Manatee County’s legal and building-services departments, the county would object to CDD 6 limiting access to the Country Club through the Balmoral Woods gatehouse by making it transponder only.

Supervisors say the new proposal keeps security and public access as it is today, but saves the district up to $80,000 annually in the 2014 Fiscal Year budget. It also would free up money to provide more options in 2015 for a possible reconfiguration of the Balmoral gate.

Williams hopes to remove gate-related funding from the budget to shave dollars off a proposed 19% increase in assessments for CDD 6 residents. Hill’s plan retains the money, in case it is needed for gate-related expenses; if unused, it potentially would be applied to reduce resident costs in subsequent years.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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