Kenai comp plan approval challenged

A Kenai resident is drafting a petition to overturn the Kenai City Council’s approval of its comprehensive plan.

 

“People need to let the voters decide if they like the new plan or not,” Mark Schrag said.

Schrag said the city’s new comprehensive plan — scheduled to go before the Kenai Peninsula Borough for final approval — is too great a departure from its last plan. The last plan, he said, “was much more acceptable.”

“It reflected the wishes of the people,” he said.

But Mayor Pat Porter and Vice Mayor Ryan Marquis said this plan does that, too.

“The plan’s been up for two years now,” Marquis said. “What tells me that it’s run its course is that nobody on council at the last meeting had any additional amendments.”

Porter said the council and the planning and zoning commission has listened to its citizens.

The planning and zoning commission classified the Beaver Loop Road corridor Rural Residential 1 from the proposed Mixed Use classification on the plan’s land use map following resident testimony, she said.

Also, the council classified Angler Drive as Rural Residential 1 from the proposed Multi Use on the plan’s land use maps after residents from the neighborhood testified, she said.

“It think the plan does represent the citizen’s wishes,” she said.

Schrag has a month from April 18 to draft his petition and collect about 200 signatures, or equal to or more than 25 percent of the total voter turnout for the city’s last election, Kenai City Clerk Sandra Modigh said.

If the petition garners the required number of signatures, Modigh said, she and the city attorney would take a month to verify that only “qualified voters” signed the petition and that it is a legal document.

Schrag, 59, has lived for about 17 years in the MAPS subdivision — Magic and Aliak Drive, Princess Street, and the Kenai Spur Highway. As the city’s planning and zoning commission and the council passed the plan, members of Schrag’s neighborhood testified regularly for more time to critique the plan. Residents from Beaver Loop Road and Angler Drive also testified regularly.

“One of our biggest tasks is just to shine light on the process to see what was done,” he said.

He said the majority of the comments were not in favor of the plan and the plan was passed too quickly after it was amended.

But Porter disagrees.

Since the city introduced the plan to the public in a mid-September town hall meeting, it has solicited 152 public comments, held 24 public work sessions, distributed two newsletters and various public notices, and sent out two community surveys.

“Have we had enough of the public process?” Porter said. “Yeah, I think we have.”

City Manager Rick Koch said the plan is only a guide for the city’s development.

“This document is a look in a crystal ball 20 years in the future,” Koch said. The city updates the plan annually, he said. “Guaranteed, it’s not going to be 100 percent accurate, 85 percent accurate, even 80 percent accurate.

“Some people are not going to be happy with this, and that’s just the nature of this thing,” he said.

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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