Commissioners to rule on Bingham Hill camp sessions

The Preserve at Bingham Hill may be no more, but summer camps at 3924 Bingham Hill Road live on.

At least until Monday, Feb. 27, when two appeals come before the Larimer County Commissioners.

At issue is an interpretation of the commissioners’ intent in 2010 when they approved a request by property owners Randy and Sheryl Pope to hold seasonal youth basketball camps on 10 acres just west of Overland Trail. That approval also included development of a venue for weddings and other special events.

Through a convoluted process of denials, appeals, approvals, violations of conditions, objections from neighbors, more conditions, more appeals and the final denial of the proposed events center, the approval of the youth camps remained intact. After the commissioners spiked the events center late last year, the Popes asked Larimer County Planning Director Linda Hoffmann to consider a “minor deviation” to allow adult campers and to clarify the number of camp sessions they could hold each year.

Hoffmann said she looked at the project description and conditions of approval, and found a reference to adult camps, “although all anyone had talked about were the youth sessions.” Each session was limited to between two and five days and 20 campers, with four campers per tent, although the number of tents allowed was never specified.

“I doubted adults would want to sleep in two sets of bunk beds per tent,” Hoffmann said.

Therefore, she issued an allowance for 12 tents to be used for the seasonal camps. That decision has pleased no one.

“The property owner thought that was too restrictive, and the neighbors thought it was too lenient,” Hoffmann said. Both the Popes and neighboring property owners Joe and Raye Sullivan and Ken Ecton have appealed her decision.

So the first case to be heard on Monday will require the commissioners to either uphold Hoffmann’s dozen tents or set their own number – more if they side with the Popes, fewer if they agree with the Sullivans and Ecton.

The second appeal involves the number of camping sessions allowed between March and September. The maximum number of events that could take place at the venue annually had been set at 60, with every camp session reducing the number of weddings or other activities. Based on that one-to-one ratio, Hoffmann found that a maximum of 60 camp sessions could be held.

“The property owner was fine with that number, but the neighbors say my interpretation is flawed and 60 is too many,” she said.

The Sullivans and Ecton have filed an appeal, and it will be up to commissioners to clarify the intent their original approval by specifying the number of camps allowed.

The hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room in the county courthouse, 200 W. Oak St. in Fort Collins.

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