West Ada

Laguna Pointe HOA sues Eagle over barbed wire fence, parking near Greenbelt

The City of Eagle told a homeowners association last month that it must remove a barbed wire fence because it is unsafe for bicyclists and pedestrians using the Boise River Greenbelt.

The fence runs along a public path near a 45-acre lake in the Laguna Pointe subdivision. The upscale subdivision is nestled along the south channel of the South Boise River and bounded by Eagle Road.

The Laguna Pointe Homeowners Association hasn’t taken the fence down, and on April 21 filed a lawsuit contending that the city has delayed the completion of the fence, causing the HOA to incur hearing and appeal costs.

In the 34-page lawsuit, the HOA says the barbed wire fence is most appropriate because it satisfies federal regulatory agencies, the terms of a settlement agreement with the city and is a true deterrent to trespassers. The cost of installing a wrought iron fence would exceed $300,000, potentially bankrupting the association, and wouldn’t stop trespassers, the suit says.

Alleging breach of contract, the HOA is seeking unspecified damages and attorneys’ fees from the city. It asked the court to set aside the council’s decision prohibiting the installation of the barbed wire fence along the Greenbelt.

Laguna Pointe homeowners want the fence along the path for privacy, security and to prevent people from trespassing in the fish-stocked lake.

How often are police dispatched to that area for trespassing and related issues?

Since 2010, police have been called seven times to East Riversedge Drive and East Riversedge Lane, according to Ada County Dispatch records. The breakdown of calls: three trespass, two suspicious vehicles, one suspicious subject and one problem with a subject.

Construction of a fence was part of a settlement agreement that the city reached last year with the Laguna Pointe HOA, after the city filed an eminent domain claim to acquire easements for the path. The city paid three property owners a total of $156,983 for the easements and provided up to $70,000 for the construction of a new bicycle/pedestrian bridge.

“The settlement agreement did not specify the type of fencing that Laguna Pointe could install and did not state that Laguna Pointe had to obtain approval from the City Council or any other body prior to installing the fencing,” the lawsuit says.

The path is in a wetlands mitigation area, so permits must be obtained from regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Laguna Pointe HOA said it considered several fence materials but determined that barbed wire was the only one that would comply with the requirements of the Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the settlement agreement and was suitable for the ground, the lawsuit says. The group says HOA representatives discussed their intent to build the barbed wire fence and received no objections from the city.

The HOA began installing the fence in November, but was halted when the city’s Design Review Board became aware of the fence and determined it was inappropriate. In March, the Council prohibited barbed wire and said the best material for the fence would be wrought iron.

The HOA lawsuit also says the city misled the association about the city’s authority to regulate parking along Eagle Road near the Greenbelt. The homeowners association would like parking on the shoulder near the Greenbelt prohibited because, the suit says, parked vehicles make it hard for people leaving the subdivision to turn safely onto Idaho 55.

An Idaho Transportation Department spokeswoman said Thursday that the agency is collecting information and exploring potential options to enhance safety.

The city filed a motion to dismiss the suit, arguing that the association did not exhaust administrative remedies because it didn’t seek reconsideration of the city decision within 14 days. Eagle City Attorney Susan Buxton was out of the office Thursday and not available for comment.