Land uses in Kenai neighborhoods at issue

Come fall, the allowable uses in each of Kenai’s land zones could look a little different.


Everything is on the table, although it is mostly commercial uses that are up for discussion as Kenai’s Planning and Zoning Commission works through the land use tables for every zone this summer.

During a Wednesday work session, the commission finished working on the city’s two rural residential zones and moved on to the residential suburban zones.

Residents of the Residential Suburban zone — which includes neighborhoods off of North Forest and Wildwood Drives, and some east of Kenai Central High School, adjacient to the Kenai Spur Highway — showed up to talk about what should be allowed and disallowed in their neighborhoods.

Christine Schmidt said she doesn’t want to see a commercial presence develop in residential neighborhoods where people are living close together.

“That’s where I’m coming from,” Schmidt said during the first work session Wednesday. “All Ns.”

An N on the chart means a use is not allowed.

Mobile Home Parks, guide services and lodges were among the uses previously allowed but ruled out Wednesday.

When the commission discussed guide services, commissioner Karen Koester said she could see they are a small business, but also that traffic resulting from late returns may be a burden for some neighbors.

The commission’s work was prompted by residents of the MAPS and Three Ws neighborhoods, who asked for the table for their Rural Residential 1 zone to be changed. Instead of looking at just one zone, the commission decided to re-evaluate land use in every zone since the city is going through an overall review as part of the comprehensive planning process.

For every possible use, the commission is tasked with deciding whether to allow or disallow it entirely, or set conditions on when and where it can occur. The conditions can be specific — such as allowing a given use only along the Kenai Spur Highway or another major road — or can just allow the commission to consider each request for a given use individually.

Planning Administrator Marilyn Kebschull said she plans to schedule a work session for the commission’s Aug. 10 meeting to continue working through the remaining zones.