Kenai to explore options for rejected comp plan

Kenai City Councilor Tim Navarre has many questions now that residents in the Tuesday elections repealed their city’s comprehensive plan.

“With that ordinance gone I don’t even know if we stay with the (2003 plan),” Navarre said at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

He asked city administration that night to return to the Oct. 16 council meeting with a report of the city’s options. City Manager Rick Koch and City Planner Nancy Carver did not respond to an email sent Friday asking what direction the city will take.

The comprehensive plan legally justifies zoning, land use regulations, permitting and all city land use decisions, according to chapter one of the repealed plan. The plan also outlines the city’s vision for the future.

Critics of the repealed plan say it promoted sprawl mainly along the city corridor of the Kenai Spur Highway, lacked goals for developing a city center and generally ignored the interests of buisness owners and residents.

Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said voters had never repealed a comprehensive plan before. She wants the city to review the repealed plan, host a public meeting and ask residents who rejected the document: “Why did you vote ‘yes’ to overturn it, and how can we fix that?,” she said.

Mark Schrag, the sponsor of ballot proposition no. one, the initiative that overruled the plan, said the city should recertify the 2003 comprehensive plan. That plan supported the interests of residents, he said.

But Porter said that is a bad idea. The 2003 plan is old. It does not set goals for the future. It will not move the city forward. With revisions, she said, the repealed plan could.

City council approved the plan in an April 17 meeting. Councilor Mike Boyle was the only member who voted against its passage.

With absentee ballots yet to be counted, 60 percent of Tuesday’s voters denied the document.

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

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