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Kenai passes zoning ordinance

Posted: September 9, 2011 - 8:00am  |  Updated: September 9, 2011 - 9:17am

Kenai’s city council passed an ordinance changing the land use table for the Rural Residential 1 zoning district with a 5-2 vote Wednesday night.

All council members were present for the vote, with Councilmen Joe Moore and Mike Boyle participating via teleconference. They left the meeting after that ordinance was settled because of technical issues.

Austin Daly was sworn in as student representative on the council, testifying that she would do her best to provide student voices on city issues, but did not vote at the meetings.

The ordinance, which was nicknamed Molloy’s substitute, is based on work done by councilman Bob Molloy and residents of that district, which includes the MAPS and Three Ws neighborhoods. Molloy also introduced the original ordinance in April, but the substitute reflected some discussion from work sessions held by the city’s planning and zoning commission, and at council meetings.

The ordinance passed was not the substitute ordinance that the planning and zoning commission recommended.

Moore and Councilman Brian Gabriel voted in favor of amending the ordinance to be the substitute version put forth by that commission, as did Mayor Pat Porter, but the rest of the council voted against it.

Before passing the ordinance, the council amended it to include an updated history of the meetings involved in getting to the final product.

As passed, the land use table for those neighborhoods allows subsurface development of mineral rights, a point of contention earlier in the process, and prohibits a number of commercial uses previously conditionally allowed. It also limits multi-family dwellings by not allowing mobile home parks and allowing larger developments, such as townhouses and four-family dwellings, only near the Kenai Spur Highway.

Many of the families who worked on the ordinance are long-time residents of Kenai.

“They are the heart and soul of the city of Kenai,” Molloy said when thanking them for their work and patience.

Porter, who along with Moore cast a no vote, said the found the ordinance too restrictive.

Gabriel said he wasn’t entirely pleased with the process, but he was glad it was resolved.

“I’m OK with the end result,” he said.

There was no public testimony on the ordinance, although a number of the residents were gathered and cheered or clapped when Porter announced that the substitute had passed and called for a brief break.

The council also agreed to move forward with an energy audit program that state has organized. A company will do additional work auditing city buildings, and then present the city with recommended upgrades to save on energy costs.

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