EAGLE, Idaho -- The City of Eagle has filed suit against a local homeowners' association for blocking public access to a parking lot that leads to the Greenbelt.
In a complaint filed against the Two Rivers Homeowners' Association Oct. 10, the city alleges the HOA put up bollards - short yellow posts - to block the entrance to the lot. A trail from the parking lot leads directly to the Boise River Greenbelt.
Eagle Mayor Stan Ridgeway said Two Rivers HOA should not get to decide who is allowed on that public land.
"It is an active part of our community, and we need to ensure all of our community has access to that public part of Eagle," Ridgeway said. "The river is not private."
The lot was approved in the early 2000's during negotiations between the developer of the neighborhood - who wanted two private, gated streets - and the city. For the subdivision to move forward, the trailhead and parking lot had to be open to the public.
"That is an access trail to the river, and city council at that time was trying to protect every citizen's access to the river, not just people who happen to live in that area," Ridgeway said.
But over the last several years, the mayor said, the HOA has seemingly pushed back on the agreement, posting "Resident Parking Only" signs. The city told the association to take the signs down. Then, the bollards appeared.
Now, Eagle is taking the HOA to court to settle the issue once and for all.
"Although we tried to work with the homeowners' association, they felt like it was their trailhead parking and not public access. so that's how these disputes get started," Ridgeway said. "Eventually we ended up filing the court papers after they absolutely blocked all access to it."
Two Rivers HOA declined to comment to KTVB. According to the city's complaint, the HOA's legal counsel wrote a letter stating that Eagle has no legal right for public access to the parking lot.
Attorneys for the city are seeking a declaration that the parking lot is open to the public, and asking the court to require the Two Rivers Homeowners' Association not block access to the river or Greenbelt.
Ridgeway said the city is also seeking attorneys fees and expenses from the HOA, arguing that taxpayers in Eagle should not be left to foot the bill.
"It's an asset. People come to our council meetings and say, 'I moved here from such-and-such state' and 'I moved here because it's wide open, we're moving to Eagle because have access to mountains, access to the river,'" the mayor said. "That's part of what makes Eagle, Eagle."