Prospective homeowners in extreme southeast Spanish Fork will pay the price so city leaders don't have to drain city coffers to solve a possible stormwater drainage problem.
Wednesday night, members of the City Council unanimously approved a resolution imposing a $410 stormwater drainage impact fee on any new homes near 2300 East and U.S. 6.Money collected from the new fee, which will be assessed when plats receive their final approval from the council, will go toward land purchase for a new park/stormwater retention area.
Council members said they favored imposing the fee on just the owners of the nearly 700 homes planned for the city's southeast bench rather than distribute the costs of the park project - and possibly penalize current Spanish Fork residents who are not impacting the existing drainage system.
"There would be no need for us to build the park or even assess the fee if there wasn't all this building going on in the area," Councilman Rex Woodhouse said.
The 5.1-acre park, which will be located near 1600 East and U.S. 6, would include a pavilion, a playground and possibly - on a 360-by-480-foot space - a soccer/football field or a baseball diamond. It would also feature sumps and pipes to drain off water coming from homes in the area.
With the sump-drainage pipe system the park would employ, the water would be filtered through the grass and ground before becoming groundwater - as opposed to letting the water drain, unfiltered, into the Spanish Fork River.
"(Environmental Protection Agency officials) have indicated they like this kind of treatment," Public Works Director Richard Heap said. "It's more effective to let it go through the grass and ground rather than having the salt and zinc that comes off tires go straight into the river."
The council debated whether the impact fee should be charged to the developers or homeowners, since like most Utah County cities, Spanish Fork charges those fees in a number of ways. While developers who attended the meeting said they approved of the park proposal, they said they felt the fee should be passed on to the homeowners instead of them.
"I'm 100 percent in favor of the project," said Carl Hansen of Taylor Homes. "I think it's a great idea. But the up-front costs for developers are already pretty stiff."
The park may not be constructed for another 10 years, Heap said. However, the council decided to impose the fees now so the city can pursue land purchase.
The resolution gives council members the right to increase the impact fee yearly, based on the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index as established by First Security. The fee increase will occur during the annual city budgeting process.