Hello, everyone; my town has a small but powerful river running through, and nearly all development has been on its north side so far. We have a bridge approximately at our western boundary and a new one in the middle of town about 3 miles upriver from it. THe others are small and don't really qualify as bridges. Now we have an applicant with access problems who would like to build a bridge that would bring the traffic through an old & very quiet neighborhood. In some ways, it is the best location, though there are other possibilities, but residents are extremely upset. Our capital facilities plan shows future bridges, but not in that location. THe developer has the easement for the bridge area from property owners on both sides. Here are my questions:
1. How much discretion does the town have to say no to a bridge? If it were to consider denial, what should the criteria for making the decision be? I can imagine having bridges dotted all along the river, which flows right out of a national park and is of high recreational value, and it does seems like there should be some limitation there.
2. How does the ultimate cost measure up to a longer road? It seems like a bridge would be a greater liability as far as maintenance and risk go, but I am not sure. Sometimes floods wash out bridges here, and we could certainly not afford to rebuild one at this point.
3. Does the town have a duty to grant access this way if there is no alternative? The land to be developed is outlying, and will be costly for the town to service, with or without the bridge.
Thank you for your thoughts.