Council votes against attorney recommended retroactive date in ordinance

City of Soldotna administration presented council members with a retroactive ordinance at the council’s Wednesday meeting.

 

The ordinance called for modification of municipal code to authorize the city engineer to make exceptions to construction specifications in projects when it is in the best interest of the city, according to Ordinance 2013-029. The city attorney recommended the ordinance take effect April 1, 2013.

“This ordinance was brought up as a clarification based on the Porcupine (Court) street design, which has a narrower width design that our current standard construction specifications,” City Engineer Kyle Kornelis said. “Because that design has already been completed, our city attorney recommended that the ordinance have an effect date of April 1.”

Tim Cashman Jr., owner of five properties on Porcupine Court, has been voicing his concerns about the Special Assessment District for the street to the council since it approved the SAD at a July 24 meeting. SAD projects are done in a limited area to primarily benefit property owners and are partially funded by the area owners.

Cashman was unable to attend the Wednesday council meeting, but he wrote a letter to Mayor Nels Anderson and the council stating, “the passage of a retroactive ordinance will set a dangerous precedent.”

Council member Dale Bagley was “uncomfortable” with the April 1 date.

“We just need to go with what we’ve done and let the chips fall where they may,” Bagley said. “I would like to get rid of that retroactive date and just go with the effect being the date that this is enacted.”

The council went into an unplanned executive session to discuss the ordinance.

After coming out of the session, Bagley moved to amend the ordinance to make it effective upon adoption. The amendment and motion passed unanimously.

Cashman said on Thursday he’s happy with the council’s decision to not enact the ordinance retroactively, but he’s not sure what will happen now.

“I think the city is just in a bind. I know I am, but not by my doing,” Cashman said.

He said the city has codes and minimum standards for a reason, and hopes projects will be looked at more closely in the future.

City Manager Mark Dixson wasn’t present at the meeting. Kornelis said city administration will review council’s action with the city attorney before proceeding.

Renovations for Porcupine Court include pavement, curb, gutter and drainage improvements. The resolution council adopted estimated the project cost to be $360,333.

The resolution calls for the city to pay 75 percent of the improvements, and for 12.5 percent of the cost to be divided equally among the 16 properties. The remaining percentage is to be divided among properties according to the area of the lot.

Cashman was taxed a total of $18,405 for his five undeveloped lots valued at $42,500.

He previously said the city did not give owners enough time to comment on the resolution that was passed on July 24, none of the property owners asked for the project and the project violates multiple city codes, including the 24-foot wide street standard.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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