Recent discussion in the media surrounded the establishment of two private gated developments within the city of West Fargo. Both properties, Charleswood Penninsula and Stonewood at Maple Ridge at the Preserve 4th, are unusual in that access to the area is limited by the Sheyenne River and by other development. The property owners chose to use the limitation of the restricted access to create a unique development plan.
A point of discussion centered on the property being without public roadways. Private drives already exist in a number of developments within West Fargo to include: Evergreen Way; Beaver Creek; Oakwood Bend and West Port Beach. The private drives are installed and maintained by the property owners. City service providers and emergency responders work with the developers to ensure the private drives allow essential services to be delivered. The planning department reviews and assigns addressing for each of the structures within the area so that emergency responders and the public can find a particular location.
Stonewood area will include a fence along the eastern border of the property. Chapter 4 of the West Fargo City Ordinance sets the conditions and requirements relating to fences. A property owner may elect to install a fence upon their property that meets the requirements of the ordinance. Chapter 4 also sets out conditions under which the property owner must install a fence to screen the view of certain activities or to create a safety barrier. Some of the larger fence projects in the area include Eagle Run along Sheyenne; Goldenwood along Cass 17; Tintes along Ninth Street East. Developer-installed fences are located in other areas around West Fargo.
The two properties under discussion will also include controlled access through an automated gate system. As the area remains private property, to include the private drives, the property owner may elect to control access to their property much like a business may close their property to the public. Fire, police and medical responders indicated the need to have emergency access through the gates and the property owners have agreed to provide the needed access. The property owners will also need to provide accommodation for garbage pick-up and mail or other package delivery. The private drives on both properties dead-end on the property and allow for only one point of normal access. The gates will not deny access for the general public of any property outside of the developed area.
As you drive through the streets of West Fargo, you will note the many evolutions of change in development layout and construction. The simple squares of the grid system used to lay out the older parts of the community has given way to the curves, cul-de-sacs, round-abouts and recreational trails of the new. The simple Montgomery Ward catalog homes of 1940s are dwarfed by the custom homes of today. Change occurs within society. A gated development is just one of our latest changes.
Michael Reitan is the assistant police chief in West Fargo