Have you ever wondered why some communities are gated and others are not? Sure, safety is an important reason but let’s face it – we don’t live in a high crime area. The original reason for gated communities was so that visitors and homebuyers alike stop and meet the sales team as they drive in.
Imagine driving through a brand new or relatively new community that has no gates. If you drove though quickly and didn’t get a warm welcome, you’d drive through and drive right on out, right? The sales team wants to speak with visitors to point out all the benefits and amenities that you don’t stand a chance of seeing from inside your car as you drive past the beautiful homes.
While some communities are gated and some have guard stations, not all guard stations have a guard in them. If you drive down Georgetown Road in the Sunset Beach and Calabash areas, you will find just that -- guardhouses but no guards. While developers install guardhouses to help sell the most properties, once they leave the community and their portion of paying for the guard disappears the residents have to agree on a future strategy. The residents of Sandpiper Bay and Sea Trail didn’t want to pay for a guard who did nothing more than wave everyone through. Thus there is an unmanned guardhouse.
Choices are either no guard, guard or what is becoming popular is the option of electronically controlled gates that are open during the day and close around 6 p.m. Winding River, Ocean Ridge Plantation, Crow Creek, RiverSea Plantation and Lockwood Folly are some of those communities who have adopted this philosophy/policy. Residents are assigned a keycard to activate the gate when they need entry.
To employ one guard 24/7 for 52 weeks a year and absorb the costs of a guardhouse, it would cost upwards of $100,000 per year. With crime in Brunswick County being much less than where most people are coming from, communities filled with retirees that are generally home quite a bit and keep an eye on their neighbors places, are finding that guards really are an unnecessary luxury.
So, when searching for your perfect location where you can retire in comfort, do some research on the gate situation so that you better understand who is paying for the cost of such a feature and whether or not you feel it's important to you.