HOA proposes exchange for security camera

September 2, 2011

By Christina Lords

In a time when most municipalities are strapped for cash, the Reserve at Newcastle Home Owners Association has a proposition for the city to ease maintenance costs for one of its public parks.

In exchange for an easement to place a security camera atop a 15-foot pole in the northeast corner of Tralee Park along 155th Avenue Southeast, the association is proposing to take over the city-owned park’s annual landscaping work and other maintenance.

A small box to house the camera’s DVR and router equipment to capture images will also be added to the property.

The camera is one of three cameras the association proposes to add to give a greater sense of security to those living in the community, said Aaron Burnstein, a member of the HOA’s board of directors.

“We are looking at this for three main reasons,” he said. “One, because our community is asking for it. Two, to add a deterrent (for crime). Three, to provide access for law enforcement.”

The proposal went before the Newcastle City Council at its meeting Aug. 16.

The images collected from the equipment will be stored locally and accessed via the Internet by property management.

Once the equipment is installed and an agreement is drawn up, the association would then take over the park maintenance, including mowing, putting in bark and doing shrub work.

The public and private partnership would benefit the community and the city, Burnstein said.

City Attorney Dawn Reitan said the proposal’s suggested location for the cameras would not intrude on the public’s expectation of privacy.

“I would say if we enter into an agreement, we would also want to provide standards for privacy, including staying away from people’s windows and keeping (cameras) pointed to the road,” she said.

The cameras will capture license plates and streaming video.

“At night you’ll be able to tell if it’s a light- or dark-colored sedan and you will have a clear image of the license plate,” Burnstein said. “The property, the infrastructure, will be owned by the Home Owners Association.”

The cameras will provide a greater sense of enforcement and security, he said.

Discussions with residents of the Reserve about the security camera proposal began a year and a half ago, he said.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with this proposal because this last month we’ve been talking about security cameras with some concern about privacy issues,” City Councilman Bill Erxleben said. “It’s a cheap, good way to not only deter crime … but perhaps more importantly, maybe we can catch some of these people who are committing these crimes.”

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