At the April 6 Board Discussion Session, HSVPOA General Manager, Kelly Hale, discussed Visitor Gate Access Policies. He said he believes in a “big on hands-on” approach to the management of the Village.
What partially prompted this discussion is that while Hale was monitoring the gates [evaluating a system] and while watching folks enter and leave he noticed a lady show her bank card to gain access. The gate guard waved her through.
“We have policies that talk about Visitors, Guests, Members, Ingress, and Egress.”Ingress-and-Egress-Policy-Guide
Hale read, “Under ‘Visitors’ it says, ‘Any person who is not a member or a guest sponsored by a member but is seeking access to the Village and has proof of authorized entry from a POA approved entity such as a church, service club, business, professional practice, or ticketed event, or activity approved for visitors/vendors…'”
Hale said what specifically brought this to his attention is when he was monitoring the gates he noticed something. “We have businesses here in the Village. I got a phone call from the lady that runs the Regions Bank. They had people that couldn’t get through the gate because we go in cycles about taking the gate serious and not [taking it seriously].”
Hale: “I moved here because of the gates. That was priority one. Beyond that, it was the beauty and all the other stuff that goes along with it. But you know, for $100 a month, it is pretty doggone good for the type of security we have. That’s God’s honest truth. We want to talk assessment value.”
What Hale noticed when standing with the east gate guards, was a lady pulled up and showed a bank card. The guard waved her on through. “I asked the guard, ‘Is that how they get in?'”
The guard explained that the bank customers just show an ATM card and then they are allowed in the Village.
Hale said he left the east gate and was headed back to the POA Administration Building and he noticed the same car at a trailhead, just a few minutes after she had been admitted to the Village.
Hale said, “Being me. I had to stop. She was tying her shoes [using] the bumper of the car.” Hale said he just can’t help himself.
After stopping, Hale addressed the lady saying, “Hey, how are you doing? Beautiful day for a walk.”
The lady responded, “Yeah, I walk three times a week on the trails.”
Hale asked, “Do you live here?”
The lady said she did not.
Hale said he didn’t tell her she had to leave.
Hale continued, “It is one thing to do business with people because we have businesses in here, churches in here.” The process for doctors’ offices [Doctors’ offices should send the patient an appointment card and the patient is supposed to show this in order to enter the gates.] “We’ve gotten away from that.”
Hale said, “Then we get phone calls at the POA from Doctors’ offices that are upset because they are not following their own rules..”
Hale stated, “I don’t want to upend our businesses that are here because they serve us…That’s fantastic that we have all these within [the gates]. But to think that we are going to [allow] all the outside residents come in here as well, it turns into a managing nightmare…”
Hot Springs Residents/Members spend money for a Beach Patrol every summer. to ensure that only authorized people are using the beaches. “People have this implied attitude that if they have some sort of business or whatever, that they are entitled to use all the amenities we pay for,” said Hale.
Hale is exploring options with the POA staff. One recommendation [not that this is what we are going to do] is that people that bank here or go to church inside the Village, etc. could be issued a sticker pass. Doing this would help to alleviate some of the gate congestion.
Hale said the builders are not making sure their vendors have the proper passes. “This is lost revenue, that we should be getting.” The large trucks can be hard on our roads and every work pass issued generates some money that can be used to repair the roads.”
“I don’t have an immediate answer on how we are going to address this. I just wanted to get it up for discussion and out on the table so that we can find the right avenue.” This has been an ongoing problem for decades. “We don’t want to turn off the community or the vendors we have here, but we need to make it clear, ‘you need to have a purpose here, and then when you are done with that purpose, you need to leave, please.'”
This is one of the key issues he sees going on. There are issues with tailgating.
Hale said, “The reason I bring this up is we’ve had a high uptick of issues that have gone on with vandalism, theft of gas. A John Deere gator was stolen from one of the golf courses, along with some tools. These are people from outside the Village that are cutting our fences and getting in and doing different things. It just goes to show if they are doing that and stealing from the POA, we need to make sure we are firm on not letting people in here who shouldn’t be in here.”
Hale wants to make sure folks belong in here, have a purpose in here and you leave as soon as you are finished with the purpose. “I believe that people who are part of a community, are more responsible within that community,” explained Hale.
Board Vice-chair, Tucker Omohundro, said, “Businesses started in this Village years ago and they never planned on getting people outside those gates…The businesses inside the gates were started to service the people inside this community. Omohundro said he has been here through it all, and things changed.
Cheryl Dowden, Hot Springs Village Gazette, April 10, 2022
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