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Pedestrian path fracas -- OK to lock gate, administrator says

Original post made on Oct 4, 2010

The pedestrian path that was once the only convenient way to walk through the neighborhood at the north end of Ortega Avenue will likely be closed permanently. The city's zoning administrator is allowing the homeowner's association to put up a locked gate.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 4, 2010, 11:18 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Joseph
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Maybe this would be a good time for the city council to use "eminent domain"?

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Posted by Don Reisinger
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Perhaps, if there weren't real concerns about the safety of allowing access, the gate would be unnecessary in the first place. It is a simple matter to review the crime statistics for the area to see that the concerns are real and locking the gate is justified.

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Posted by The Eye
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 4, 2010 at 6:25 pm

"It is a simple matter to review the crime statistics for the area to see that the concerns are real and locking the gate is justified."

Agreed. The facts do not lie. If anyone feels unsafe by having such a thoroughfare traversing their living space, the locked gate is justified. Security first, whiny voices "being inconvenienced" second. Don't like the detour? Get some exercise. Your inconvenience is not worth someone's safety. Period.

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Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm

A welcome victory for property owners!

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 4, 2010 at 7:48 pm

As long as there is no public land or responsibility involved, let the landowners do as they wish with the land.

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Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 4, 2010 at 8:11 pm

So will the City abandon the adjacent pathway easement beside the single-family homes on College Avenue? Why should the public maintain that narrow right-of-way for the benefit of only Ryland Towne Court residents?

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Posted by pedistrian advocate
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2010 at 7:52 am

As an outside lay person interested in pedestrian rights, I looked at the specifics in this case. Its clear the administrator ruled correctly in this case. The streets and passage are private and maintained by the HOA as can be seen on the county assessors office records. No public funds were spent. So property owners, the HOA, have clear control of the gate forever. If the passage were maintained by the city, the result would have been the opposite and the gate would have to remained open after 5 years of use. See California civil code 1009 on how implied dedication is handled.

I suggest those pedestrians under special hardship personally approach the HOA for a passage key, stamped not to be duplicated or a key that cannot be copied on normal key machines (To long term control the lock, see a locksmith for some pickproof locks which have keys that cannot be easily duplicated). The HOA does not have to grant a key, can certainly require a deposit or use fee, but it seems a fair compromise and gives the owners security they desire.

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Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 5, 2010 at 9:26 am

Pedestrian Advocate,

Are you saying that the adjacent easement between the homes on College Street is maintained by the HOA? I don't have a copy of that official record. Who is listed as the beneficiary of that easement? If it is the public, the City should abandon it and give it back to the adjacent single-family homes.

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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2010 at 11:59 am

Dont assume that this decision will stand. This could be found to be a Prescriptive easement. I think that in California the time frame for that is 7 years of open use

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Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm

The Assessor's Parcel Map shows the pathway area as a vacated street per Resolution 13347. The Tract Map for Ryland Towne Court shows the pathway as a 10-foot wide public right-of-way per G163 OR 299 that is recorded as Document No. 7090348. According to the County Recorder's website, that document is a City of Mountain View resolution recorded in 1981. It costs $19 for a copy of that. I'm not ready to buy it yet.

The Assessor's Parcel Map is not an official map record, but it is usually a good place to find reference to the official records. It is strange that it references a resolution number instead of the official recorded document number. Is Resolution 13347 the one recorded as Document No. 7090348? What was resolved by Council in 1981? My guess is that it vacated the street, but left a 10-foot wide right-of-way that now does not serve the public.

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Posted by walker
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

A few days ago I took a walk through Ryland Towne Court and was delighted to find the plywood covering the pathway had been removed. For the first time in a long while I enjoyed long walk through the neighborhood, a visit to El Pueblo Market, Rengstorff Park, then circled back home.

I am pleased to learn there was a hearing, that pedestrians were represented - but sorry to learn that the pathway will be closed off once again.

As a walker and life-long non-criminal(!) perhaps I can appeal to the HOA for a key to the gate that Ryland Towne Park will now construct. Rotsa Ruck!!

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