Sunday, March 04, 2007


The Asheville City Council took steps this past week to institute planning ordinances to ban gated subdivisions. For the health of the community, that's a no-brainer. For some developers, it's whine-inducing:
Newcomers, many of whom come from California and Florida, expect gates to protect amenities for which they pay extra, including clubhouses, golf courses and swimming pools, said Cathey Bailey, owner of Biltmore Realty.
Don't come NEAR my amenities, you PLEBE, you great urban unwashed!

Several years ago, during a previous Boone city government, a gated subdivision was approved for the flank of Howard's Knob up behind the Episcopal church. When some of the public and some on the Planning Commission objected to walling off part of our little mountain town, the developer made representations that he would leave the gate open. They'll drink our water, flush their toilets into our sewer lines, drive on our streets, but aren't of us, you understand.

Open or not, a gate closing off public access to municipal acreage, to give its residents a puffed-up notion of their exclusivity, is not something an American town ought to indulge in. Certainly not to make a few people feel better about themselves.

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