Actually - "restrictive covenants" are also known as deed restrictions. AND, to have an HOA, you need Deed restrictions. And, I would bet, that in your subdivision, which you indicate has no hoa fee, there is an HOA - if for nothing else, to ENFORCE those "restrictive covenants"
Well, personally, I wouldn't consider living in any
subdivision that didn't have certain restrictive covenants (you shouldn't have to pay for them, this is something decided upon developer normally), and I don't know anyone who would, but that wasn't really my point...
topic at hand was gated communities and what were the disadvantages...