A proposal from the newly formed Hardscrabble Trails Coalition to add a 2.1 mile mountain bike trail through Hernage Gulch has members of the local biking community stoked and members of the nearby neighborhood miffed.
So, in response to those conflicting reactions, Tuesday night the Eagle Town Board agreed that the idea should be fleshed out as part of a formal hearing process.
The proposal from the Hardscrabble group calls for a 2.1 mile trail addition through town open space. The trail would begin at Hernage Road, wrap around the ridge and water tower, cross Hernage Creek and then climb over a second ridge before ending at the trailhead parking area on Arroyo Drive.
Acting as the trails group spokesman, Adam Palmer characterized the proposal as a logical extension to the existing trail network. He said only a small portion of the track covers ground that isn't already located in the impact zone for existing trails.
Several mountain bikers advocated for the trail, saying the town's network needs some additional intermediate terrain. They also noted that the town is marketing its biking opportunities and the trail is a good addition.
However, Craig Wescoatt of the Colorado Division of Wildlife characterized the area as critical wildlife habitat and advised against the trail. Several neighbors of the area concurred.
Resident John Cochrane said the trail would conflict with the town's wildlife management objectives and would be an unreasonable impact to nearby homes. "You need to have some sanctuary for the animals," he said.
After more than an hour of testimony regarding the merits and drawbacks of the plan, town board members again reminded the audience that the issue at hand was not to approve or deny the trail, but rather to decide if the proposal should be the subject of a full-blown hearing process. The town board unanimously voted that it should be and directed staff to take the issue to the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission for initial review.
In other action the town board:
• Heard from Nearly Everything Store owner Annie Colby requesting a change in traffic signs. Colby asked that the town alter the current signs which direct traffic to take Sylvan Lake Road to travel to Sylvan Lake State Park. She argued it would be better for downtown businesses if the town directed that traffic onto Broadway. Noting that Broadway was designed as a pedestrian friendly roadway, town board members expressed concerns that large RVs or vehicles hauling trailers would clog traffic and present a traffic hazard on Broadway. The issue will be addressed further at a future discussion.
• Ruled that the initial petition from the Haymeadow project was eligible for annexation. The property is located southeast of town along Brush Creek Road and will eventually require four separate annexations. Because of continuity and other technical concerns, the town board tabled a decision regarding the eligibility of the other three parcels until December.
• Awarded the contract for the Wall Street wastewater collection replacement project to a local firm - Scofield Excavating. The work on the sewer line project is slated to begin as early as nex week.
• Heard a marking report from consultant Jill Anderson.
• Approved two resolutions. The first declared August 2011 as Colorado Masonic Month. The second declared August 2011 as Parks and Recreation month.