Breakaway Gates | the brief 2023-03-01

Has it occurred to you yet that there is only one point of entrance into and exit from the entire Ranchos de Placitas community?

Have you ever wondered what you would do if for some reason the entrance/exit was not available?

Ranchos de Placitas, like many communities in Placitas, is designed to be a closed community, meaning one way in and out.

So, what happens if exit is required and the NM-165 egress is blocked or closed off?

This is where the often referred to “crash gates”, or as some prefer to call them “breakaway gates” come into play. (Breakaway gates because no crashing is actually involved. Instead, perhaps a hard kick or fairly gentle nudge from a vehicle should open the passage.)

Here’s some information about these important safety features of our community.

Where are they?

  1. South Ranchos de Placitas — Units 1-3: At the far end of Chaparral Road and would open onto Calle Final in Placitas Homesteads.
    See it on a Google Map
  2. North Ranchos de Placitas — Units 4-7: A breakaway gate on Water District property can be accessed via a driveway on near the end of Cienega Canyon Road. It opens onto a cul-de-sac at the end of Calle Montoya in La Mesa.
    See it on a Google Map
Once opened, either of these gates would provide secondary egress if needed for RdP residents.

When would they be needed?

Realistically, we are fortunate RdP is not a heavily forested area. This means that, while always possible, the likelihood of an emergency exit from the community due to a fire is miniscule. What is perhaps more realistic might be an overturned truck on Juniper Road blocking community egress for some extended period of time.

Aren’t there locks on the gates?

Yes. And sadly, this is true. On the North RdP side some folks were at some point using the gate at Cienega Canyon Rd to jump through to La Mesa. It was deemed an unnecessary risk to our water system by the Water Board who owns the property, so locks were added to prevent general use and to protect our valuable water resources.

In the highly unlikely event of a blockage on Juniper Road requiring the need for secondary egress, a Water Board member* will be able to open the North breakaway gate, and notify La Mesa’s HOA about our situation and enable temporary egress through La Mesa roads.

So, worrying that we might be “trapped” in North Ranchos de Placitas with no escape is definitely not an issue for any concern.*Contact information for RdP North (Units 4-7) Water Board:
Emergency Phone (505) 867-3017 | Emergency Pager (505) 460-1964
These contact numbers appear on every water bill as well as on our website:

CodeRED – County Emergency Notification System

REGISTER to be notified by the local Sandoval County emergency response team in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts, including evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports. During registration you can customize the types of notifications you receive.
Next Month: Fire Prevention Tips
*Thanks for Hugh Woodruff, Fire Chief Eric Masterson, and resident Mike Neas for providing information in this issue of the brief.