Eagle officials order clearing of Greenbelt

An ongoing battle with a subdivision could lead to legal action.

kmoeller@idahostatesman.comSeptember 15, 2013 

After a year of negotiations, the city of Eagle wants to see results.

City officials have asked their parks director to get a one-mile stretch of Greenbelt near the Laguna Pointe subdivision cleared of weeds and other obstructions so walkers and bicyclists can use it safely. Work will begin Monday, and it’s expected to be finished by the end of September.

When city staffers were on the path this week, they were confronted by Laguna Pointe residents. Homeowners association president Steve Peel was upset about the plans to clear the path and threatened to contact the group’s attorney, Eagle Parks Director Mike Aho told the City Council.

“They were just dragging everything out, and they had all types of demands,” Councilman Mark Butler said Friday. “It was time. That’s a public pathway.”

Councilwoman Mary Defayette said Treasure Valley bicyclists and walkers who want to use the path have been complaining to public officials all summer.

“We lost an entire season, and that’s unacceptable to me,” Defayette said.

For its part, the Laguna Pointe HOA puts any blame for a delay on the city. In a statement Friday evening, HOA manager Tim Dublin said the group paid in April to create an outline of a new easement agreement and also offered to help obtain an Army Corps of Engineers permit for a collapsed bridge over one section. The city, Dublin said, has not followed up with the HOA on either item.

The one-mile stretch of path is the last leg of a roughly five-mile section of Greenbelt between Glenwood Street in Garden City and Eagle Road in Eagle. All but the last section of the path is paved, and Eagle officials plan to keep it a gravel path.

The trail is entirely on private property, but relies on an easement allowing public access. According to the HOA, the trail has diverged from that easement onto private property during the past seven years.

Path users have been impeded by a number of obstructions this summer, including trees and a collapsed bridge. The Laguna Pointe HOA told city officials that the path infringed on private property in places, including the bridge, and it opposed allowing bicyclists on the path.

City staff continued to negotiate easements, and the bridge was removed. The city has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine where another bridge can be built across the overflow channel.

Butler and Defayette said the current path infringes on private property in three small areas. The path will be cleared and moved so that it doesn’t go onto private property, Defayette said.

“We’ll be going closer to the river with our easement,” she said.

Katy Moeller: 377-6413

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