Summer camps still on for Bingham Hill

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The saga of the property at 3924 Bingham Hill Road south of LaPorte has come full circle, from basketball camps to wedding venue and now back to summer camps.

On Feb. 27, the Larimer County Commissioners approved a request by owners Randy and Sheryl Pope to allow up to 60 summer camp sessions, each with up to 25 outdoor tents. Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Steve Johnson both voted in favor; Chair Lew Gaiter III, who represents District 1, was absent.

The ruling came in response to a pair of appeals to decisions made by Larimer County Planning Director Linda Hoffmann regarding the specifics of seasonal overnight camps allowed by the commissioners. The camps were permitted even though the proposed Preserve at Bingham Hill event center was denied in November.

The event center proposal originally grew out of informal girls’ basketball camps held beginning in 2002 on the property for teams coached by Randy Pope. After several iterations and reiterations, the venue for weddings, family reunions and other gatherings was approved, with conditions, by the commissioners in May 2010. At that time, the summer camp sessions received separate approval.

When the event center permit was later revoked for violations of the conditions, the camp use remained intact, Hoffmann explained.

Earlier this year, the Popes asked the planning department for clarification on the number of camp sessions they could hold, since that had been part of the negotiations on how many larger events that could be hosted each year. They also asked how many tents could be pitched for each session.

Hoffmann found that 60 overnight camp sessions between March and September were still allowed, but that only 12 tents could be used for each session. The Popes appealed the limit on tents to the Board of Commissioners; their neighbors, Joe and Raye Sullivan and Ken Ecton, appealed both the number of sessions and the number of tents.

“We were all looking to the commissioners for clarification of their original intent,” Hoffmann said in February. And that’s what they got.

As of March 22, the planning department had received no further requests regarding the property, according to Hoffmann.