The Kenai City Council voted in its Wednesday night meeting to allow city residents who own vacant parcels adjacent to their homes to build accessory structures on the land.
The council passed also several resolutions in its 45-minute meeting.
“Through the conditional use process, this would allow them to put a 400-(square)-foot building without a foundation for use such as a greenhouse,” said council member Brian Gabriel Sr., the ordinance’s sponsor.
Prior to the ordinance’s passage, City Manager Rick Koch said building on adjacent owned properties could be burdensome for residents.
One solution in the past could have been to remove the plat line between the two properties, he said. But if the developed property was mortgaged, the mortgage would “encumber” the undeveloped property when they merged, he said.
“That complaint’s come to my office,” Koch said.
The ordinance requires that the adjacent structure have a non-permanent foundation of less than 400 square feet and that residents apply through the conditional use process so city administration can check the permit’s compliance with its code, City Attorney Scott Bloom said.
“I’ve had a few citizens from the city that … would like the ability to use their additional vacant lot,” Gabriel said.
The council passed also a resolution to transfer $8,000 from the city’s General Fund Operating Supplies to Repair and Maintenance to repair damaged Kenai Municipal Airport firefighting equipment.
Koch said Kenai Fire Department personnel damaged the equipment when they backed the department’s crash fire rescue vehicle into its garage without first lowering the vehicle’s extendable lights.
“The extendable lights on it are taller than the garage door,” he said.
It happened four times in the past year, according to his memorandum to the council.
The total cost for vehicle’s repair is $11,225, according to the council agenda. The remaining $3,225 required for the repair was already allocated for such instances, Koch said.
Another resolution the council passed authorized the purchase of a new, $20,205 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The truck will replace a failing 1993 GMC truck, according to the council agenda.
The truck’s purchase is split between two sources. About $10,000 comes from the city’s budget; the remaining funding will be pulled from the Trail Construction Capital Project Fund, according to the council’s agenda.
Council member Terry Bookey objected to the secondary source of founding.
“I don’t like using capital funds in this way,” Bookey said.
In his closing statements, council member Bob Molloy said since the council reclassified a wetlands area to conserve its use for migratory birds, it has received praise from the Peninsula birding community.
The city-owned triangular parcel — number 049-101-05 — sits west of the Kenai River between Sea Catch Drive and Columbia Street. The city’s draft comprehensive plan had proposed classifying the parcel Industrial on its land use map, but the council voted to classify it Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces at its April 17 meeting.
“A lot of people in the community were pleased about that because of all the migrating water fowl that go through that place,” Molloy said.
Ken Tarbox, president of the Keen Eye Birders, said he and three others recently counted about 2,500 cackling geese in the pond that sits over half of the parcel.
The parcel is identified as a tidal wetland, according to Kenai Watershed Forum mapping.
“We’re very happy about that,” Tarbox said. “That little pond there next to Inlet Salmon is an incredibly productive pond.”
Dan Schwartz can be reached at email@example.com.