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Gated community hits West Fargo

The first gated community in the metro area will be here in West Fargo in the Charleswood neighborhood.

Eight lots for eight homes known in what will be the Charleswood Peninsula recently went on the market for between $155,000 and $375,000. The flood-protected lots will be surrounded by the Sheyenne River, and access to the community will be regulated by a closed gate after 7 p.m.

Construction on the private road through the development will begin in May and the first houses could be constructed this year, said developer Aaron Greterman.

Greterman said there is a market for a gated community in West Fargo due to the city’s population and business growth. He said a gated community offers more privacy and protection from crime. The neighborhoods popular in other parts of the country will be in high demand as more professionals move into the area.

A second gated community, called Stonewood is on track to be built in the Maple Ridge area. After a public hearing at Monday night’s planning commission meeting, the development’s design plan was recommended for approval although the planning and zoning commission asked Developer Mark Buchholz to continue to work with residents on the design. About a dozen residents spoke at the public hearing to voice their concerns about the impacts of having a gated community nearly in their backyard.

West Fargoan Austin Gruebele, who attended Monday’s planning commission meeting to hear more about the Stonewood development, said it doesn’t make sense to build a gated community in an already safe neighborhood of West Fargo.

“Everyone knows each other, everyone looks out for one another already,” Gruebele said. “A gated community can give a false sense of security.”

Gruebele and other residents who spoke Monday were concerned that a gated community erodes at neighborhood unity.

But Tim Solberg, Senior Planner for the city said ordinances don’t take into account possible socio-economic factors such as those. Solberg said the city does not have a specific ordinance that regulates gated communities, but proposals must be within current subdivision guidelines.

The Stonewood development will have two gates, the main gate will be off 32nd Avenue south while a second gate, near Claire Drive will remain closed but will be made out of material public safety vehicles can break through in case of emergency.

In Charleswood Peninsula, Greterman said the sole gate will be closed after 7 p.m. Residents will have a code to allow visitors inside and will also have vehicle sensors that will open the gates automatically.

Both gated communities will have private roads inside the gates maintained by the community.

“We’re not specially assessing anything so any adjacent neighbors are not negatively impacted at all,” Buchholz said. “Everything will be paid for by the developer, and eventually the residents.”

Greterman said construction on the private drive will begin in April and he hopes construction can begin on homes later this spring. Houses built in Charleswood Peninsula will need to meet minimum requirements of 3,000 square feet for a two-story home and 2,000 square feet for a one-story home, not including basements.

Stonewood’s final plans will need approval from the City Commission before construction can begin. Buchholz has said he too would like to begin construction on homes this spring.

Charleswood River Estates