A new bridge may be needed in the Riverbottom neighborhood, but area residents say they are not willing to pick up the entire tab - or even the majority of the tab - to replace a bridge that is structurally inadequate.
"If the bridge is necessary, it's a citywide problem, not a neighborhood problem," said Steve Jaussi, neighborhood chairman. "We feel we have been infringed on."Jaussi and several other residents spoke to the City Council during a public hearing Tuesday on charging impact fees to pay for the bridge, at Carterville Road and 56th North.
The impact fee would be paid by property owners in the area as they develop their land, but the details of the assessment are still to be decided, said Leland Gammette, community development director.
"We have no intention of making a final decision now," he said.
Mayor Joe Jenkins agreed. "We will not do anything until we come up with some proposals and hold another public hearing."
Wayne Mortensen, a landowner in the area, said: "If the bridge is not safe now, the city is responsible to make it safe - not me as a landowner. I think you need to take into account the mass variables."
City Engineer Nick Jones said the one-lane bridge is structurally inadequate, has exceeded its life expectancy and must be replaced in the future.
The city's main concern, however, is that there is only one good point of access for about 150 acres, Gammette said. If that access were blocked, fire, and police protection would be lost to the area.
The other access to the area is from 48th North at about 500 West. Two access points are needed for emergency equipment, Jones said. The present bridge at 56th North has a 10-ton limit, and city fire trucks weigh 20 to 25 tons.
The bridge probably will stand for a few years, but only with enough support for one lane, he said. That is too narrow for an area that might have high-density development.
"Without a second point of access, we have a serious health problem, and development shouldn't occur until it is taken care of," Gammette said.
He said the city expects to replace the bridge in 1995 when enough funds are collected. The 56-foot-wide structure will cost about $560,000. Provo plans to cover 20 percent to 25 percent of the cost.
"Developers are ready. The pressure is there. Now is the appropriate time to determine how we deal with the bridge," Gammette said.
An impact fee was the most attractive way of paying for the bridge because it usually is charged when development occurs. That way existing property owners are protected from unanticipated costs that cannot be recovered.
The bridge also could be paid for through bonds, but if the area does not develop quick enough there will not be enough revenue to pay the bonds back, Jenkins said.
Gammette said the impact fee could be based on acreage when development occurs, and could be collected when a building permit is issued or or when plans are approved.
But Mortensen said the fee should not go by acreage. Fees should be assessed to those who directly benefit.
Developer Dave Gardner agreed: "Development should pay for the bridge. The cost should be passed on to the user of the property."
Heritage Girls School, one of the largest landowners in the area with an 18-acre parcel, will not pay for the bridge because it paid for the infrastructure on the road coming from 48th North, Jaussi said.
Landowners adjacent to 48th North told the council they shouldn't be assessed the same amount as others in the impact area because they have are right at one point of access.
The impact area extends from 48th North to the Hale power plant and from the Provo River to the west city limits at the brow of the Orem Hill.
"We are not here to push anything down your throat," Council Chairman Stan Brown said. "We want to hear you first."