A lawsuit that went all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court over a small parking lot spanning two city governments in Eagle is now resolved, but the city will now use a long-planned park project to satisfy the court order instead of forcing the losing homeowners association to rebuild the original parking lot on their property.
The lawsuit pitted the City of Eagle against the Two Rivers Subdivision Homeowners Association over the closure of a four-space parking lot on S. Channel Way that provided public access to the Greenbelt. The parking lot was open to the public for years, until late 2016 when the city said Two Rivers placed “residents only” parking signs and eventually blocked vehicle access with bollards and the city sued to enforce public access.
The Idaho Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the city of Eagle in 2020, ordering Two Rivers HOA to rebuild the parking lot and open it to the public by October of last year. But, instead, the City of Eagle says it will settle the dispute using an easement swap near the construction of a new parking lot in Mace Park near the planned pedestrian bridge over the Boise River near Eagle. Road.
BoiseDev sent several questions about parking, which covered the cost and resolution of the lawsuit, to city spokeswoman Dana Biberston, who said she was awaiting a response from Eagle’s city attorney. before answering because it was a legal question. At the time of publication of this story, the city did not respond directly to our inquiries and instead sent us to Just the Facts page.
The city spent about $71,000 on the lawsuit, according to payment records obtained in a public records request by BoiseDev.
Messages left for Two Rivers President Kevin Zasio requesting an interview were not returned.
This problem dates back to 2002.
According to the first complaint filed in Ada County’s Fourth District, Eagle City Council approved a proposed unit development with two neighborhood streets private and closed to residents. In exchange, the city approved the small parking lot on S. Channel Way to provide public access to the Greenbelt.
The city, in this October 2017 filing, was used from 2004 to 2015 to transport the public until the city “became aware” that Two Rivers HOA had placed “Residents Only” parking signs on the lot . In February 2016, the city said it sent a letter to then-HOA Chairman Victor Miller, who is now the Ada County GOP Chairman, advising him that the land was public and should remain open. The HOA reportedly responded in July asking the city to cease and desist from all public access to the land.
The city sent another letter in March 2017 reaffirming the public’s right to access the land. Eventually, in October 2017, the city’s trail coordinator discovered bollards had been erected blocking access to the parking lot. It was then that the city, led by Mayor Stan Ridgeway, chose to file a lawsuit against the HOA.
Two Rivers responded to Eagle in court papers, arguing that the area where the parking lot is located is “clearly” owned by the HOA and that the city’s agreement for public access was purely verbal and that it there is no legal basis for the subdivision to keep the lot public.
The district court judge sided with the subdivision in 2019, saying the city had no right to the property because the easement for the land had never formally passed to the city.
Enter the Supreme Court of Idaho
After the city of Eagle lost, the city council chose to appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court for another chance to make its case. And this time they succeeded.
The opinion from the state’s highest court cited several locations in the 2002 meeting transcript where the subdivision developer specifically offered parking to alleviate Greenbelt access issues in the area due to the closure of two of the neighboring streets. ISC said it showed an offer was made and the city agreed to the concept, which led to the land being built and years of use.
“Looking at the undisputed facts in a light more favorable to the non-moving party, we find that the City accepted TR’s offer of dedication on May 13, 2003, when it approved TR’s design review application “, reads the notice of May 2020. “Specifically, the City accepted the more general offer of TR made during the hearing of November 26, 2002, and then finalized this acceptance once it had approved the specific parking lot location and design contained in TR’s design review application.”
This returned the case to the Fourth District Court for mediation and resolution in favor of the City of Eagle. This agreement set out several requirements for Two Rivers, including that an easement in the area provide public access, that a new 3- to 4-seater field be built, paid for and maintained by Two Rivers, and that it be open to use by October 2021. .
Two Rivers says parking poses safety risk
It’s unclear exactly what was discussed between Eagle Mayor Jason Pierce, city staff, and Two Rivers HOA in coming to a decision, but a September 2020 letter from Two Rivers President Kevin Zasio highlights light what could have been discussed. The letter says the HOA recognizes the outcome and the need to reach a resolution, but also hints at the possibility of further litigation against the city.
“I have been advised by our attorney that the issues surrounding the decision could result in additional protracted litigation for years to come,” Zasio said. “Having litigated this case for nearly three years, we felt it was best to work with the City on a positive path rather than continuing to litigate new issues regarding the parking area. However, while the City has agreed to mediate, it also appears that the City is more interested in provoking Two Rivers in further litigation than addressing our fundamental safety concerns that brought this matter to a first critical point.
The letter went on to say that Two Rivers had never had a problem with the parking lot until a few years ago when people entered private property from the parking lot, which Zasio said caused “problems with security”. He said the city has not done enough to alleviate neighborhood safety issues and there is still enough space for people to park on the street to access the Greenbelt and other amenities.
“As I have said many times, for some reason the parking area invites people more interested in trespassing on our private property and other illegal activities than people parking on the immediate street,” did he declare. “I can’t explain the discrepancy, but it’s a real problem. Since Two Rivers removed the parking lot following the district court ruling, illegal activity has dropped by more than 90%. »
City chooses to use long-planned city park to satisfy court order
A few weeks ago, Eagle City Council signed a memorandum of understanding with Two Rivers for a new parking lot.
But it’s not at the old location on S. Channel Way.
Instead, Two Rivers agreed to grant a new public easement on property it owns bordering the nearby Mace Park project on Eagle Road, planned for the terminus of a new pedestrian bridge crossing the Boise River near of Eagle Road. This easement will allow the city to construct a landscaped buffer around the parking lot, as required by code, and use the property for wiring parking lot lights and sprinklers for irrigation.
At a Nov. 1 town hall, Pierce told the crowd that Two Rivers would water and maintain the area, but it’s unclear if that maintenance extends to the entire park or just the landscaped areas that support it. border. It is also unclear whether Two Rivers is contributing funds towards the creation of the park or the larger parking lot.
This parking lot and park have been under construction for years, according to the city’s website. The page says discussions about the park began in 2011 when the city received the property as a donation to turn it into a park as part of the Mace River Ranch subdivision development. Early renderings on the page from 2013 show a dozen parking spaces, but the most recent drawing shows the parking lot extending further south toward the Two Rivers property with 15 additional spaces.
BoiseDev asked Idaho Supreme Court spokesman Nate Poppino about enforcing court orders if members of the public believe they are not being enforced. He pointed to a section of Idaho Civil Procedure Rules who say that a party who fails to carry out the terms of a court order following a lawsuit could be the cause of a motion for contempt of court.
“If a judgment compels a party to convey land, deliver a deed or other document, or perform any other specific act and the party fails to comply within the time allowed, the court may order that the act is performed at the request of the disobedient party. charges by another court-appointed person,” the page said. “When performed, the act has the same effect as if performed by the party.”