“The neighbors are trying to be proactive,” Chris Dake said. “We don’t need a child to die to see it’s a safety concern."

PACE — Santa Rosa commissioners permitted closure of the north entrance to the Cross Roads subdivision at Berryhill Road and Stratford Lane in Pace by way of a guard rail following Thursday’s public hearing.

Several Cross Roads neighborhood residents addressed the board regarding the matter. Just two speakers opposed the measure.

Safety was the primary reason speakers gave for wanting the closure, citing through-traffic driving at high speeds.

Traffic through Cross Roads will increase once Publix is open on the property between Woodbine Road and Chumuckla Highway near the south end of the Cross Roads subdivision, according to a letter to the board from the Cross Roads homeowners association.

Thursday’s speakers and letters in the backup documentation repeated these fears of speeding traffic injuring a child or pet.

“The neighbors are trying to be proactive,” Chris Dake said. “We don’t need a child to die to see it’s a safety."

The county’s backup documentation also included a 2015 survey the Cross Roads HOA took of the neighborhood, showing 76 of 90 residents approving of the closure.

Michael Curry, who lives on Stratford Lane, opposed the closure based on convenience to nearby shopping.

“Safety (concerns) can happen anywhere,” Curry said. “A group of people trying to make an association work said 85 percent were in favor but we were never asked about it. I don’t think the facts bear it out … Homeowners here speed through stop signs evenings and mornings."

An aspect of the closure was whether to do so with a gate or a guard rail.

Because some people were concerned the county was creating a gated community and a gate would require regular expenses to maintain, the county opted for the guard rail, according to Commissioner Sam Parker.

The particular guard rail the county would install would be able to be removed in 30 minutes if long-term emergency access were needed, Parker said.