By Margie Plunkett
Colonial Ridge Club residents want to put up gates to stop motorists and pedestrians from cutting through the property located between A1A and Old Ocean Boulevard as well as using the condo’s parking spaces.
A group of residents and officers appeared before Ocean Ridge commissioners in January, requesting permission to install an electric gate at the A1A entrance of the condominiums at 5505 N. Ocean Blvd., which would be attached to a wall that already encroaches the town’s right of way.
Commissioners, however, noted that the plan had grown beyond the initial request and could require a site plan of parking spaces and traffic flow. They also directed Ocean Ridge Police Chief Edward Hillery to talk with Boynton Beach fire-rescue officials to ensure the plan allows acceptable access for emergency crews. The Colonial Ridge Club group was ultimately directed to meet with Town Attorney Ken Spillias to determine its next step, but not before laying out a plan that would add gates to entrances on both Old Ocean Boulevard and A1A and that could change the traffic pattern within the complex.
The gate at Old Ocean Boulevard would be an entrance only, while the A1A gate would be used solely as an exit. At least some parking spaces would be redesigned at a slant.
Patricia Colica and Mary Ellen Bernklau told commissioners that the gate was necessary to prevent access by motorists who don’t live in the community as well as to curtail increasing instances of crime. Besides beach-goers’ frequent use of the parking spaces, the community has had break-ins and an intruder who refused to leave its pool for hours, they said. Also, the parking lot has become a shortcut between A1A and Old Ocean Boulevard.
“If we tell people they’re encroaching on our property, they swear at us,” said Bernklau.
The exit-only gate would also ease traffic congestion on A1A, which backs up when motorists make a left turn into the community.
While residents would have “clickers” to electronically open the gates at will, service providers — such as for regular garbage pickup — could be given a code for access.
Commissioners raised safety concerns after they were told residents could use clickers to exit through the entrance gate, and two-way traffic was planned inside the community’s gates.
“We want you to all be happy, but we have to be concerned with the safety of it,” said Mayor Ken Kaleel. “It has to meet whatever codes that we have to deal with.”