Next time you drive past a guard shack at the entrance of what appears to be a gated community, it may just be a bluff. Many developers in California looking to dodge the hassles of walling off a development are installing empty gatehouses and open archways, all to create the illusion of a private community. Malibu housing marketer Sandra Kulli says these faux gated communities imply affluence in what she calls the “I´ve arrived attitude.”
Urban development experts say the fakes provide home buyers the same sense of privacy real gates provide, without forcing builders to pay for the upkeep of private driveways and security that could add to the houses´ sticker price. Also, local officials are often opposed to actual private enclaves, they say the locked gates block emergency vehicles and are a planning nightmare for public projects like bike trails.