The Soldotna City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution at tonight’s meeting that, if approved, would form a special assessment district for Lord Baranof Street.
The project calls for an approximately 330-foot long gravel section of Lord Baranof Street to be improved with asphalt pavement, rolled curb and insulation for an existing water main.
The city identified the project as a priority in Soldotna’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan because of maintenance and drainage issues. A memo from Stephanie Queen, planning director, addressing the resolution also notes gravel from Lord Baranof tracks onto nearby streets adding to maintenance issues.
The upgrades are estimated to cost $210,841. The resolution recommends the city pay 75 percent of that cost, which leaves a total of $52,710 to be paid by the owners of the 10 properties that the city identified will benefit from the improvements. The city is required to match 50 to 75 percent of the funds for SAD projects. The resolution calls for a 75 percent match because the project will reduce city costs and maintenance efforts and it was identified in the five-year Capital Improvement Plan.
The resolution divides the $52,710 per lot because the properties are similarly sized and zoned, so each lot will pay $5,271. However, the resolution states the interest rate and payback terms will be set by the council after the project has been completed and actual costs are known.
Three Lord Baranof properties are undeveloped, one is developed with a daycare for up to 44 kids and the rest are single-family homes, according to the memo.
Dan Poppin owns all the three undeveloped properties. The city held multiple meetings to discuss the project with the property owners. In a letter from Poppin dated as received by the city on Nov. 25, Poppin states that he attended two meetings about the project and was in favor of the project. He has since changed his mind.
He wrote that while a paved road will make the drive for property owners on Lord Baranof more “pleasant,” many other citizens also drive on the 330 feet of road.
“It serves as a short cut and detour route for both Redoubt (Avenue) and Kobuk (Street) as well as the entire Forest Park (and) Rockford subdivisions,” he wrote.
He also mentioned it is an alternate route close to Sunrise Park and Redoubt Elementary and Soldotna Middle Schools.
In his letter he said Lord Baranof Street is a “thoroughfare roadway,” used more by “routine and sporadic through traffic” than by the property owners and improvements would benefit the whole community and reduce future, long-term city spending.
“Therefore this needed repair work and road surface upgrade should be paid for entirely via general government dollars,” he wrote.
According to municipal code, the purpose of SAD projects purpose is to primarily benefit property owners in a limited area.
Queen did not return phone calls for additional information.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.