The path through the Ryland Towne Court development to Leland Avenue was boarded up last month, causing a stir on the Voice's online forum. Residents of the neighborhood used the path to walk east towards Rengstorff Park and downtown without having to make a long detour onto California Avenue.
Zoning Administrator Peter Gilli said that if Ryland Towne Court were to be built today, the City Council would have made public access through the development a requirement of the project. But despite the city's policy to encourage walking and bicycling, the project's 2000 approval by the City Council only required that residents of the project be allowed access through the pathway, something a locked gate would provide.
Gilli made the decision at a hearing Sept. 22 where 40 residents showed up. Opinion was evenly split among those who spoke. Half were neighbors who used the path and felt it was invaluable, while others were Ryland Towne Court residents with security concerns about loitering, vandalism and burglary because the path was open to the public.