The Battle Over Gated Greenspace

Communities are stepping up measures to prevent developments from fencing in public areas. The new round of protests comes as the amount of open land in the U.S. is shrinking.

"Worried that too much open green space is being fenced off inside exclusive gated enclaves, communities are stepping up measures to curb such developments. In Waco, Texas, voters this month defeated a proposal to sell public park land to a developer who wanted to build a gated complex there. Officials in Boulder City, Nev., who have watched such developments engulf nearby Las Vegas and Henderson, have banned them outright; a similar measure is under consideration in Asheville. Last year, a Los Angeles man filed suit against a gated project in Canyon Lake, Calif., charging it illegally prevented him from boating on a publicly accessible lake the development claims is private property."

"...Gated communities have their defenders, who argue that some actually protect natural wildlife habitats. In a number of areas, officials have leveraged givebacks from developers, requiring or cajoling them to set aside vast amounts of greenery in return for permission to build -- the sort of compromise championed by wildlife organizations. The developers of Santa Lucia Preserve, a 31-square-mile gated community near Carmel, Calif., for instance, agreed to leave nine-tenths of the tract vacant under a conservation easement in exchange for the right to sell 300 lots to builders."

[Editor's Note: This article is available to Planetizen subscribers for a period of seven days.]

Full Story: Developers, Cities Duel Over Gated Green Space

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