Commissioners question funding of gated community street maintenance

Jonathan Riley
Morning Sun

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Although plans for a new 55-and-older gated community in Pittsburg are moving forward on schedule, the question of who will pay to maintain the streets in the neighborhood threatened to complicate them at this week’s city commission meeting. 

In discussing the preliminary plat submitted by 3P Development Group, LLC for the first phase of Villas at Creekside, which the developer is planning to build in an area south of 4th Street and west of Pittsburg High School, Quentin Holmes, the city’s director of housing and community development, noted that the neighborhood will have only one entrance in its first phase, but another will later be added. 

Asked by Mayor Chuck Munsell if both entrances to the Villas at Creekside neighborhood that will eventually be built will be gated, Holmes said they would be. 

"It appears that this development will be gated in its entirety,” he said. 

Munsell then asked if the roads in the gated community, which would not be accessible to the general public, would be maintained with public or private funding. 

“It will be public infrastructure. How that is managed through the gating system, that would be up to the developer,” Holmes said. 

“Well, that’s why I asked,” Munsell said. “Because if it's gated, I don’t see that as being public. I think it’s private streets in that development.” 

Commissioner Patrick O’Bryan said he agreed. 

“I think that if we’re going to be paying for it, I can’t see that it should be closed off to the rest of the public,” he said. 

Commissioners Cheryl Brooks and Dawn McNay both pointed out, however, that the Villas at Creekside being a gated community was a selling point for the development. 

Munsell said it wasn’t a problem for the development to be a gated community, but the taxpayers shouldn’t have to cover the cost of maintaining its streets. 

“I don’t think that should be on the rest of us to maintain the streets,” he said. “To me it’s private, and I know there’s a lot of developments around the country that are private that maintain their own streets and roads.” 

Whether the streets in the gated community are paid for with public or private dollars, there will be emergency vehicle access to the neighborhood, city officials noted. McNay said the city could look at examples of how other cities have handled maintenance of streets in gated communities to find a model for its own approach. 

“This isn’t new,” she said. “I mean certainly there’s other communities that we can ask, you know, how it works.” 

Munsell pointed out, though, that the Villas at Creekside will be the first gated community in Pittsburg. 

The commission unanimously approved 3P Development’s preliminary plat, but Munsell asked Holmes to look into the possibility of getting the developer to pay for the maintenance of the streets in the Villas at Creekside neighborhood.