Residents raise concerns about potential trailhead parking lot near Erie

Nov. 18—The Boulder County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee pumped the brakes on recommending approval of the East Boulder Creek Site Management Plan Thursday night.

Numerous residents spoke during Thursday's meeting, not to oppose the site management plan as a whole, but to instead voice their opposition to a potential parking lot trailhead going in off North 109th Street east of U.S. 287 and north of Jasper Road.

Residents made clear that a parking lot at that location, which is off a dirt road, would attract far too many vehicles to the rural area and cause safety concerns, among other issues.

"I would like to just borrow a little euphemism from our precious coach (Deion) Sanders and say 'we here,' and we feel that this project ain't ready for primetime, not yet," Catherine Arnold, who lives off North 109 Street, said during Thursday's meeting. "This is not NIMBYism. We are not asking for it not to be built. We are just asking for you to slow down, take a break and listen to us."

County staff has maintained that the East Boulder Creek Site Management Plan will protect wildlife habitat, allow for the continuation of sustainable agriculture and restore wetlands and stream corridors associated with Boulder Creek and Coal Creek.

The plan proposes more than five miles of trails that will foster connections to networks in Erie and the future Boulder to Erie Regional Trail.

Erie is just south of the site and Longmont is roughly five miles to its north.

"My job, in part, is to ensure that the community can get out onto open space," Tony Lewis, Boulder County Parks and Open Advisory Committee member, said during Thursday's meeting. "If we don't continue to make those connections between young people, especially, and nature we're going to be in a worse world than we are now."

Several residents of the area made clear that despite the county's outreach efforts, they simply did not find out about the proposed parking lot until very recently.

Ultimately, the committee decided to postpone voting on whether or not to recommend approval of the East Boulder Creek Site Management Plan until a later date.

The committee requested additional information, such as staff research into where the parking lot should be constructed.

Boulder County Parks and Open Space Resource Planner Jeff Moline said in an interview Friday that the parking lot would be gravel and start out with 25 spaces. However, the total buildout could be up to 40 to 50 parking spots.

Elliot Moore, who lives directly across from where the parking lot would go in but was unable to attend Thursday's meeting, wrote a letter to the commission that was read into the record. Moore implored the Commission to empathize with the nearby residents who would be most impacted by the proposed parking lot.

"Feel our frustration at the lack of communication," Moore wrote. "Feel my anxiety about the unintended consequences of how this will change the privacy, safety, quality of life for me, my wife and our three young children. For a moment, feel what it's like to reside on our idyllic and beloved North 109th Street."