An Eagle City Council member said Friday that city leaders voted Tuesday to remove “nuisance” barbed wire from a fence along the Greenbelt in the Laguna Pointe subdivision.
The barbed wire was removed on Wednesday, said council member Mary McFarland. They did not remove the posts.
“We decided it was better for the public safety to remove it,” McFarland said. “We felt like it was a major hazard for the community, and we continued to get phone calls and emails.”
The Laguna Pointe HOA issued a press release late Friday afternoon on what it described as the “unlawful and unilateral removal of fencing inside private property.” The homeowners association said it tried for several months to resolve the fence issue with the city, even offering to change it to smoothed wire fencing in a design review application that it submitted in September. They also said city officials agreed to let them use barbed wire if the fence was moved back 5 feet.
The city hired a private contractor to remove the wire, and it was turned over to the Laguna Pointe Homeowners Association, said Mike Aho, city parks director. In its press release, the HOA said the wire was cut and left on the ground.
Aho said city staff put up 10 “no trespass” signs along the the path after the barbed wire was removed.
The city asked the Laguna Pointe Homeowners Association to remove the barbed wire fence last spring. But they did not.
In a lawsuit against the city, the HOA said a wrought-iron fence would be prohibitively expensive and wouldn’t be a deterrent to trespassers.
The 3,575-foot-long fence borders the north side of a pond near the Greenbelt on the south channel of the Boise River. The public path is in the Laguna Pointe subdivision.
After failed negotiations, the city used eminent domain last year to obtain easements for the 1-mile stretch of pathway, which connects Eagle to Garden City and Boise. The HOA put up the fence to prevent people on the path from trespassing on private property and poaching fish from the pond.
Eagle City Attorney Cherese McLain said that settlement that the city reached with the HOA also specifies that the fence must promote the safety of trail users.
McFarland said the city waited “impatiently” for a judge’s decision on the HOA lawsuit. She said the council felt like time was of the essence since there will be an entirely new council in 2016. One of the current council members —Stan Ridgeway — was elected mayor, unseating incumbent Jim Reynolds.
On Dec. 11, the judge hearing the HOA’s lawsuit, retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder, dismissed the lawsuit for a second time after being asked to reconsider an August dismissal, according to online court records. He dismissed it “without prejudice,” which means the HOA can file another lawsuit against the city.
“The city would really like to put this to bed and have a fence in place that is safe for everybody,” McLain said.
Attorney Nicole Hancock, who has represented the HOA, did not comment Friday. The HOA said in its release that the City of Eagle “prefers Laguna Pointe seek judicial relief through the district court at taxpayer expense rather than find an amicable solution that is workable for both sides.”