HSV Community News, Events, Opinions, People, and Places

HSV – Gated Community?

By Cheryl Dowden, January 9, 2020

Is Hot Springs Village (HSV) a gated community? A lot of controversies revolve around whether Hot Springs Village is a gated community.

At the Lakes Committee meeting yesterday, January 8, 2020, a very interesting topic was brought up. There was concern from some about the use of HSVPOA lakes by non-paying guests. Presently there is only an honor system in place but often guests use HSVPOA lakes for free.

It was suggested at this meeting that booting vehicles/boat trailers with a sizable fee to have the boot removed might eliminate this problem, once the word got out.

Chief Member Experience Officer (CMEO), Jamie Caperton was at this meeting and stated that this could not be done.

The question was asked as to why not? It was also stated that we are private property, we are a gated community.

CMEO Caperton’s response was curious. She said that Hot Springs Village is not a gated community. This took some by surprise that she should say this.

Edited: I have since been told that this is not what Ms. Caperton stated and instead discussed whether we want to have a welcoming image or not. Whichever way she said it, the article still stands as the CMP considers the gates “unwelcoming”.

Some folks feel the gates are presently so porous, that we are not a gated community. In contrast, others feel that we are and it is stated as such in numerous places.

  • The official HSVPOA website, Explore the Village cites, “Hot Springs Village is the largest gated community in the United States.”
  • Additionally, according to ideal-Living, we are a gated community. Of course, ideal-Living also says our best features include 55 Plus, Equestrian, and Community Garden. While we are not technically a 55-plus age-restricted community, the majority of our residents are of retirement age. We do welcome all ages. We also do not have equestrian facilities or a community garden, that ideal-Living credits us with having.
Snippet from ideal-Living – “Hot Springs Village, Arkansas’ Best Features”
Snippet from the Arkansas State of Tourism website

There are ample examples on the internet with HSV being described as a gated community. What is the reality of our gates and will we retain them in the long run?

What the CMP has to say about the gates

Observation 6: EXISTING GATES (CMP Page 134)

6.1 Gates provide the perception of safety, but are troublesome to monitor and are expensive to staff.

6.2 Residents strongly identify with the concept of a gated community, despite the emerging reality that the gates are a limiting factor to sustaining commercial development, and perceived intrusions by non-members who visit the Village and the lakes.

Really? The gates are perceived [as] intrusions by non-members who visit the Village and the lakes? Is this why Jamie Caperton stated at the Lake Committee meeting that we are not a gated community?

Was this possibly said because one of our recently-added governing documents, the Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP), is a New Urbanism plan? Although the CMP is accepting of the reality of Villagers desiring the gates, the authors of the CMP are not in favor of gated communities.

Andres Duany’s stance on gated communities

This is what the “Father of New Urbanism,” Andres Duany and co-developer of our CMP has to say about gated communities (taken from page 15 of the pdf below – Mr. Duany’s answers are in green):

Q. “New Urbanists have not been happy with gated communities, but they seem to be popular.”

A. “New Urbanists are categorically against gated communities. For many years gated communities have been just a marketing ploy. I’m completely certain that we do not need gated communities, although I think security will become increasingly important. But good design that gets people to be outside and to look outside, not gates, makes neighborhoods more secure.”

Q. “Can you discuss the negative implications?”

A. “Well, first of all, there’s a discontinuity in the network grid, for traffic. There is only one way in and one way out. Therefore it overloads certain roads that then become pedestrian-unfriendly. Secondly, it’s an economic monoculture. Your children can’t live with you because they’re in a different economic bracket. Everyone has to commute in that mows the lawn, or teaches in school. They basically secede from the public realm. They get themselves a private government; they maintain themselves at a higher standard and they willingly tax themselves to do that. These are people who are normally well-heeled who should be taking care of politics and they don’t. So it takes a lot of talent away from politics and local government.”

Q. “What about businesses within it, restaurants and things like that?”

A.Well, they hardly work. Retail doesn’t work at all, and if you have clients and if you’re working through fiber in your house against the rules it can be a dead giveaway at the gate, because why are these people coming?”

“What Makes A Good Town” – Architect Andres Duany explains the principles of the New Urbanism” By Steven S. Ross ■ Editor-In-Chief)

What else does the CMP have to say about the gates?

7.1 Access to the Village is limited for those who want to learn more about the Village and its recreational assets. The need for increased commercial activity is a counter influence to the need to maintain the perception of gate security. The Village wants businesses to thrive, but those businesses need access to more customers to sustain operations. Those new customers must come from outside of the gates.

In my opinion, it is not a matter of “if” the gates come down, it is a matter of “when”. For the CMP’s mandated Town Centers to be successful, the gates need to come down.

By Cheryl Dowden, January 9, 2020

*”Tailgator – Alerts You When Vehicles Are ‘Tail-Gating'”

As an aside, the Tailgator system from International Security Networks (ISN) helps to keep out tailgaters in gated communities. (We are currently in litigation with ISN.)

Monitors and alerts when unauthorized vehicles follow authorized vehicles through a gated entry.

  • Multiple Pictures of every vehicle are displayed.
  • The Tailgator is displayed in red box and sounds an alert.
  • Makes your community safer.
  • Avoids broken gates!
  • Helps identify gate runners.”
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