The city insists that the disputed alley in northeast Price is a public right-of-way, but property owner disagrees.
An alley in Price city is at the heart of an issue and the final outcome could have effects on other alleys throughout the city.
As part of the Division of Water Quality projects going on throughout the Spring and Summer, staff from the Water and Sewer Department identified possible problem spots in the city. A sewer line is being replaced in an alley near 450 E. 600 N. in the Parkdale Townsite Subdivision. An existing sewer main is in approximately two-thirds of the alley and is being replaced because it is old, deteriorating and substandard.
At the center of the discussion was the issue of the city having to remove the landscaping, including a lawn and bushes, to accomplish the work on the project.
Russell Seeley, city engineer with Price City, said that the alley was determined to be a public right of way. In July, Gary Sonntag, public works director with Price City, sent a letter to the residence next to the alleyway notifying them of the work that would be done, Seeley said.
The city explored different options to replace the sewer line including using the technique of pipe bursting so as not to disturb the area. The technique has been used by the city during the sewer line work throughout the summer but the cost for using the pipe bursting technique would cost around $76,000, Seeley said.
"The cost of the project to do pipe bursting, which is $76,000, is not a very practical option for the city," Seeley said.
One of the questions posed to the city from residents in the area is whether or not the city will allow the landscaping to be fixed to the way it was before or to leave it the way it is now.
For businesses like Rocky Mountain Power, Emery Telcom and the Price Utility Department, limited access to the alley has presented a problem for them, Seeley said. Because of the size of their vehicles, they are not able to maneuver around the area and if they enter the alley way from the South they must back up to get out from the way they came in. The access to the alley in the winter season causes more problems as well, Seeley said.
What the city does with this particular alley could have repercussions with other alleys throughout Price. If the city chooses to allow the residences in the area to continue landscaping the entrance to the alley, then other alleys in the city could possibly do the same. Things such as dust, mud and rocks are just some of the reasons residents don't want to have a curb cut put in, opening the alley for access. A majority of the alleys in the city have gravel or dirt roads, Seeley said.
"What about the other alleys in the city?" asked Mayor Joe Piccolo. "We can't treat this one alley any differently than the rest of them."
In order to determine the best course of action, Mayor Piccolo said the city needs to see some renditions of what things might look like with a curb cut put into place and what the costs for putting in barriers to keep rocks and dirt from affecting nearby residences.
"This is quite the dilemma," said Councilwoman Jeanne McEvoy.
"We need to scope the project out, considering the whole scope," Piccolo said. "It might make a hard decision a little easier."
For the most part the work on the sewer project is complete, with some touch-up and cleanup that still needs to be done, Seeley said.
The city council passed a motion tabling the agenda item until the following city council meeting on Aug. 25.
"We're not going to change the world in two weeks," Councilman Richard Tatton said. "We need to get a little more information and details."