Council approves proposal for Rochester's first gated community
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - For the time in the city's history, Rochester will welcome a gated community.
The city council voted 4-3 on Monday night to approve a proposal by Continental Properties for a 220-unit complex on about 34 acres of land near the Broadway Commons Shopping Center. The community will be surrounded by a five-foot, iron-rod gate.
Members Michael Wojcik, Sandra Means and Nick Campion voted against the plan. A number of community members also raised concerns about the project during an hour-long comment period.
Critics argue gated communities give a false perception of danger, while also increasing social and economic segregation.
"I think by putting Rochester's first gated community there, we're sending a signal to the community that there are issues out there that are not," said council member Michael Wojcik, according to a report by KTTC-TV.
The prohibition of a gated community was the only recommendation from city staff that the council chose to ignore. The other 10 (less controversial) points of criteria laid out by the planning and zoning department were approved Monday.
Officially called the "Springs," the development will include 11 apartment buildings and one clubhouse. Each apartment will be two stories and have ground-level access to provide a "townhome feel," according to the developer's proposal.
Residents will have access to their own car wash, fitness facility and Internet café. The development will be animal-friendly with a pet wash station and two fenced pet playgrounds.
Rochester is getting its first gated community. SE Roch Continental project "Springs" approved 4-3. Means, Wojcik and Campion voted no.— Derek Sullivan (@PBDerek) March 3, 2015
There will be two main entries into the complex, one from the north and the other from the south. The gates will be closed at all at times.
"Gates and controlled access entries are important to us as a brand," said Eric Thom, a development director for Continental, according to a report by the Post-Bulletin. "We have found this formula to be very successful. We have high occupancy rates."
Across the U.S., more than 10 million housing units are in gated communities, where access is “secured with walls or fences,” according to the most recent census data.
Monday's decision was the second time in the past month that the council has approved a project, despite opposition from city staff. The other proposal calls for a 15-unit apartment complex in the Kutzky Park neighborhood.
(Cover graphic: Similar complex by Continental in Savage, Minn.)