Update on the Pleasant Lake Road entrance

New Pleasant Lake Road entrance to North Oaks.

Driving into the community through the Pleasant Lake Road entrance, NOHOA Members and their guests will notice that work on the entryway site including hardscape elements, signage, installation of two Burr Oak trees, and surrounding landscaping, has been completed, marking the accomplishment of a significant long-term community goal to bring the Pleasant Lake Road entrance property into the private ownership of the North Oaks Home Owners’ Association.

The entrance design incorporates Sonoran stone and cast concrete for the hardscape pillars, wall, ledges, caps and insets, and a COR-10 steel background with solid brushed aluminum letters for the primary sign. In 

addition to the two Burr Oak trees, featured plant materials include Feather Reed Grass, Fragrant Sumac, Prairie Blues Little Bluestem, Prairie Dropseed Grass, Rozanne Geranium and Black-eyed Susan. As the plants, and particularly the Burr Oak trees, are transitioning to their new home, it is a normal occurrence for there to be a period of distress wherein the foliage will turn brown or even drop. The nursery and landscape installation and maintenance services are tending to the plants over the next several months and provide a replacement guarantee.

The Pleasant Lake Road entrance project began in August of 2018 when NOHOA signed a Letter of Intent to purchase the two parcels, located at the southern edge of the community at Highway 96 and Pleasant Lake Road, from the North Oaks Company. The Purchase Agreement for the transaction required that the Company remove the existing structure and remediate the site, and that the Association provide an improvement solution, which would at minimum include a hardscape element and landscaping, to be completed by July 31, 2019. 

In addition to the requirements of the Purchase Agreement, it was necessary that the improvement solution for the entryway comply with specific requirements around configuration and messaging to indicate the private status of the North Oaks community. As a private community, all entrances to North Oaks must post the language, ‘North Oaks, No Trespassing, Private Roads and Land;’ there must be a clear delineation of the private boundary on the roadway surface (e.g., a painted line); and, there must be a turnaround opportunity to allow for the immediate exit of unauthorized persons and/or vehicles.

The improvement solution that has been implemented at the site meets all of the requirements in the Purchase Agreement, as well as complies with each of the three indicators of privacy standards. The site treatment also addresses other goals of the project including presenting a welcoming, but physical indicator of private boundaries, and reflecting the mission and values of the North Oaks community (peaceful, private, natural environment) through the use of enduring, high-quality, natural materials. Finally, the simple, minimal entryway solution is responsive to the broad spectrum of priorities and preferences expressed by the NOHOA Membership. It builds upon and fits in with the natural, understated, timeless tone, color palette and materials that have been used in newer sites throughout the community like the West Rec Center, Waverly Gardens and the North Oaks Golf Club. This aesthetic can be replicated in other applications in the community, and the minimal footprint provides flexibility to accommodate future considerations such as improvement of the adjacent holding ponds and integration of security solutions.

The cost of the entrance project was $197,000. The purchase price for the entrance properties was $100,000 and the cost of the revised improvement concept plan, materials and installation was $75,000. An additional $22,000 was incorporated into the final project budget to provide for irrigation of the site including modification of the on-site well, electrical access, and a drip irrigation system. The project was financed using existing funds in the Association’s Capital Improvement Fund.

As detailed in previous articles and NOHOA board meeting updates, the site solution was informed by and incorporates collective input from efforts spanning the past eight years including the 2011/12 Entrance Committee Report; concept exploration in 2016 and 2018; and, the revised exploration and solution development and implementation in 2019. In the development of the project, the NOHOA board has incorporated the professional expertise of architects, engineers, landscape architects, arborists and sign fabrication specialists. In September 2018, NOHOA membership provided feedback on exploratory concepts in a Community Listening Forum and in subsequent months through comments at board meetings, emails to NOHOA staff, and posts on the NOHOA Facebook page. 

As the purchase and improvement of the Pleasant Lake Road entrance site wraps up, the NOHOA board would like to thank the many, many people who contributed their time, expertise, and in some instances funding or in-kind services to the project including: Loucks planning and landscaping for design and project management; Elements, Inc. for the hardscape and signage; Margolis nursery and landscaping for the Oak trees, plants and landscape installation; North Oaks City forester, Mark Rehder for arboreal expertise; Elfering and Associates for engineering and on-site mechanical recommendations; Mel’s Services for their past, present and future work on the installation and maintenance of the site; the North Oaks Garden Club for their generous contribution of funding for landscape plants; and, North Oaks artist Patty Healy for her beautiful watercolor recognition of the gatehouse structure. The board would also like to thank the NOHOA Architectural Advisory Committee members and colleagues in the City offices for assisting with approval and permitting aspects of the project, respectively, as well as the heroic, ‘all-over-it’ project facilitation efforts of NOHOA executive director Mikeya Griffin and the NOHOA staff, Michelle Klein and Sami Ephraim. Finally, the Board would like to thank and recognize Doug and Mari Harpur and the North Oaks Company for initiating the Pleasant Lake Road entrance transaction and extending considerable staff and financial support over the course of this seminal project.

Please contact the NOHOA office at nohoa@nohoa.org or at 651-792-7765 with questions or comments on the Pleasant Lake Road entrance project.


—Kathie Emmons, president, NOHOA Board of Directors

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