Reservoir Ridge trailhead paving appeal set for May 14

The public can now weigh in on Fort Collins’ appeal of Larimer County’s requirement that the city pave the parking lot of the new trailhead that will provide access to the Reservoir Ridge recreation area.

The public hearing on the city’s request for a variance is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 14 before the county commissioners in the second-floor meeting room of the county office building, 200 W. Oak St. in Fort Collins.

County planner Samantha Mott said written comments received by April 27 will be included in the staff report presented to the commissioners. Comments can be e-mailed to her at smott@larimer.org or mailed to the above address. She also can be contacted at 970-498-7678.

Mott said the county expanded its required notification area to include the adjoining Poudre Overlook subdivision. She said 269 notices were mailed to neighboring property owners.

The commissioners will make the final decision on the city’s appeal of the paving provision supported by the county planning staff.

Fort Collins plans to begin construction of the trail in early summer. It would cross a property purchased by the city in 2004. The trail would provide a second access to Reservoir Ridge in addition to the current one on Michaud Lane.

The new trail would originate at Overland Trail directly west of the entrance to Poudre Overlook. The trailhead will include an 11-space parking lot, a bus and horse-trailer parking area, toilet, and picnic table.

At issue is whether the city should be required to pave the parking lot as stipulated in county codes.

In a letter supporting the city’s request for a variance, Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry said the city would agree to pave the parking area access road for 30 feet to prevent gravel from being kicked up on Overland Trail. But he maintained that paving the entire lot is unnecessary and inconsistent with other city and county natural area parking areas.

“The public and neighbors of Reservoir Ridge have consistently preferred gravel over a paved lot to better blend into the natural areas and to slow the speed of traffic for less impact to users and wildlife,” Atteberry wrote. He added that unlike the county, the city does not require parking lots to be paved even if they are located off a paved road in the city limits.

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