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Access Control System Update

The Gates conversion project has made some significant strides lately. We thought it would be a good time to fill the community in on what to expect over the next few months.  

By Mark Risner

Now that the crews have begun installing hardware for the drop arms and RFID readers, you will see some significant changes at each of the perimeter gates. Once all the new software database for the gate controllers is in place and operational, we will send out notices to all property owners and Club members regarding the next steps of updating their data in the database and installing RFID stickers on vehicles.  

The notice that you will receive will have login credentials for the gate software. It will also contain information about the timing for having your RFID tags installed, which we anticipate in the next few weeks (the vendor does not allow RFID tags to be installed on vehicles prior to full testing of all of the new RFID readers at each location). The new RFID sticker will be imprinted with the community logo eliminating the need for the old window decals.  

Here are a few protocols that will help make it clear on how homeowners and Club members proceed:

RFID Tags: 

  • Cordillera Ranch POA staff will install all vehicle tags at designated locations in the community in set time blocks. We are still waiting to set those schedules based on the exact startup / testing of the RFID system and software. As soon as we can provide details on those installation times, we will share. While we would prefer to be able to mail out RFID stickers for install by residents, due to the preciseness with which they must be installed (and tested), that is not authorized by the vendor. Due to roll-out failures in other communities doing it that way, they no longer allow self-install of RFID tags. 
  • One tag will be allowed for each car in the household. Owners assume all responsibility for tagged vehicles.
  •  Initial cost is $50 per tag for the windshield sticker and $75 for vehicles that require headlamp install (certain vehicles may require headlamp install for proper performance).  
  • The RFID readers being mounted near the gates will read the RFID tags and activate the drop arms and gates allowing one vehicle at a time.

Guest/Visitor Access:

  • Homeowners will use the gate software to create a list of approved guests and can set them as temporary guests or permanent guests.
  • The Cordillera Trace entry at Highway 46 will be manned 24 hours a day and the Joe Klar Rd and Rio Cordillera gates will be remotely monitored via camera systems, which will allow a virtual guard to authorize guests through the use of camera systems.
  • Guests arriving at these gates will be able to gain access to the community either 1) by providing proper identification to the guard (or virtual guard via cameras) and then if verified as an authorized guest (by already being on the resident’s approved guest list), the guard will open the gate or 2) by dialing the resident/Club member through the call box and having the resident/Club member open the gate by pushing “9” on his/her phone.
  • Guards will not call residents if a guest is at the gate seeking access but not on the approved list — the resident must add that guest as an approved guest to the software IN ADVANCE of the guest arriving. This will be a very important protocol change for all residents to adhere to in order to minimize inconveniences for guests, vendors, contractors, etc. 
  • Software allows owners to require text confirmation when guests are checked in at the gates.
  • Your approved guest list can be updated easily through the software’s web portal.
  • Also, it will be important for residents to verify that the phone number registered in the software to be dialed when guests arrive and dial them via a call box is an accurate phone number that is routinely answered. If you have a home phone registered and you never answer that line, you will want to update that phone number to the most frequently accessible cell phone you use. You will be able to verify the phone number on file in the gate system database once your software login credentials are sent out in the coming weeks.
  • Approved guests can be limited to only certain days of the week and hours of the day via settings in the software.
  • Residents/Club members should regularly check and edit their guest lists in the software to ensure access is limited.

Gates:

  • Lane dividers and new signage at the entries will guide guests to the guard or call boxes for access.
  • Drop arms at every entry and exit gate aim to minimize tailgaters. These barrier arms drop rapidly and will be set to only be open for less than two seconds, so residents and guests must be more careful so they do not hit the barrier arms: ONLY ONE VEHICLE AT A TIME should attempt to go through the gates. Damage repairs to any gates will continue to be paid for by the party causing the damage. Cameras at each gate will help capture responsible parties with photo and video so that they can be billed for the damage expense.
  • The existing gates will remain open during the day to accommodate higher traffic but closed at night. The existing gates will open via RFID concurrently with the drop arms in the evenings.
  • Drop arms are installed at the exits to prevent reverse entry by would-be trespassers.  
  • Additional guard service will be in place during the day to remotely monitor access for the unmanned gates.  

New Guard Service Contractor: 

We have approached this gate conversion with the goal of enhancing the point-of-contact experience and improving access controls to our community. Last summer we began evaluating our guard service and interviewing companies that are currently serving communities with the RFID system. After a lengthy vetting process, we have selected G4S Security, a global leader in integrated security and technology solutions, to replace our current provider. We were able to visit one of their communities and were impressed with their track record operating a similar RFID system, as well as the same software platform we are deploying. Their experience in operating these same systems in other community will be instrumental in helping us with the transition to the new gate program. They will begin serving the community in May. 

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to these changes, but we are confident that in the long-run these short-term challenges, disruptions and inconveniences will be well worth it. It is our goal to make the transition to the new RFID system as seamless as possible. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact the POA office at 830.336.3501.  

You can find all correspondence related to the gate conversion on the Cordillera Ranch POA website at the following link: www.cordilleraranchpoa.com/announcement_main.asp

Mark Risner, CMCA, is the General Manager of the Cordillera Ranch Property Owners Association, Inc. He can be reached at  830.336.3501 or mrisner@cordilleraranch.com.