Walnut Creek Gate Causes Conflicts among Neighbors

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An iron gate blocking a road has opened a forceful conflict among neighbors in a rural enclave of the city. The gate that blocks a road, which is either a private or not can be seen on Homestead Avenue, just below the Seven Hills Ranch Road.

In March, the city issued a resident to install electricity to the gate as it has now an electronic lock, however, only residents who have keypads have access to the gate. The road, which the gate blocks, has been used by many residents as a shortcut to Treat Boulevard, instead of taking the Ygnacio Valley Road that usually has a heavy traffic.

Now, the residents are worried of not accessing the road anytime, especially during emergency situations, according to a nearby resident Robert Erickson. He also said that he takes the road to reach John Muir clinic, located on Treat Boulevard, saying that it has been that way for more than 30 years.

While the gate has an entry mechanism that allows firefighters to access the low hills area and meadows with oak, pine trees, and dry grass, Erickson said he saw an ambulance crew, walking in a stretcher just to bring out a patient. Meanwhile, the neighbors are talking still, but a lawsuit could be brewing.

There is now a sign on Homestead before the gate that reads: “Private Street. Keep out. Turn around.” On Thursday, some residents from outside the gate have been discussing that it was to improve the safety of residents and cut traffic. They also said that crimes have been prevalent in the rural havens of Walnut Creek.

A retired city employee Barry Gordon said the road should not be blocked as it is not a private road. He researched about the Homestead history. Gordon also stated that the assessor’s office has no any record on the road as part of a parcel, and there are no taxes paid on any Homestead part.

Through an email, Brian Hickey, Assistant City Attorney stated that the conflicting portion is a private road as the city does not possess the road or spent public funds for its maintenance or improvement. Hence, it is certainly a private property issue, Hickey said.

According to the maintenance division manager Alison Knapp, the county has no authority with the road as it seemed orphaned from the government and tax collectors. The Cherry Lane is the nearest road that the county maintains. Knapp also said that the county has nothing to do with the maintenance of Seven Hills Ranch Road either, which is the end of the Homestead.

A Royal Gate neighborhood resident Peter Lai said have been cooperating on the needed improvements long time ago, saying that he arrived there in 1972, and the county and city maps indicated that Homestead roads to the roads of Seven Hills, including Seven Hills itself were truly public roads.

In Lai’s March 21 email, he stated the need of a court decision regarding the public access to the 2 roads. Several of the anti-gate residents have been considering their rights to the road use under state law, which grants access to private property after 5 years of constant public use.

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Ann McDonald is a journalist who has worked for some of the reputed print and electronic media house in the country. She is a regular contributor to USA News and her articles are informative and uphold the view pint of contending parties. She specializes in issues about social justice, race and faith and has reported about the sectarian violence which has erupted regularly around the world. Humanitarian issues and cases of human rights violation are close to her heart and she has a tenacity to follow up all her news stories to their logical end. She has been awarded with various awards for her reporting.

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