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North Aspen SAD fails

Posted: January 9, 2014 - 8:42pm  |  Updated: January 9, 2014 - 9:32pm
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Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  In this Nov. 3, 2013 file photo, children play on N. Aspen Drive in Soldotna, Alaska. The city was considering making the road a Special Assessment District, or SAD which would require residents to pay for a portion of the improvements made to the road.
Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion In this Nov. 3, 2013 file photo, children play on N. Aspen Drive in Soldotna, Alaska. The city was considering making the road a Special Assessment District, or SAD which would require residents to pay for a portion of the improvements made to the road.

The Soldotna City Council voted down a special assessment district for North Aspen Drive at its Wednesday night meeting.

All six council members voted against the resolution.

The city received three letters expressing concerns about certain proposed improvements to the street as well as objections to the project as a whole. A petition signed by all but one of the property owners was submitted.

At the meeting, the council heard from six Soldotna residents about the SAD project.

“I don’t think we need a sidewalk on anybody’s side of that alley that we have back there,” said Clifford Hugg, whose property would have been affected by the SAD. “… I never see anybody walking down through there. … And I don’t really appreciate the way this whole thing’s been done.”

Council member Linda Murphy said she thinks the reasons for the SAD as listed in the resolution, make the improvements a city project.

“I won’t be able to support this resolution,” she said. “However, I would fully support the administration coming back at the next meeting with an appropriating ordinance and approval to go forward with this project as a city project.”

Based on the desires of the property owners, council member Meggean Bos said she would not support the resolution.

City Manager Mark Dixson said administration is discussing bringing the project back to council as a public works project, but is concerned about working on the street this summer. The city has plans to work on South Binkley Street though the construction season and may need North Aspen as an alternative traffic route.

Proposed improvements to North Aspen Drive, according to the resolution, included paving, rolled curb and gutter as well as sidewalk, street lighting, landscaping and insulation of an existing water mainline.

According to a memo from Stephanie Queen, director of economic development and planning, the project would reduce city costs and maintenance efforts, promote economic development in commercial downtown areas, maintain a pedestrian-friendly transportation network, reduce dust, improve drainage and enhance overall aesthetics.

The project, brought to the council by city administration, is estimated to cost $525,677. The resolution called for the city to pay 75 percent of the cost. The remaining $131,419 project cost was scheduled to be split among the properties based on road frontage. The property with the most road frontage, 432.30 feet, was assessed at $33,565.02.

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

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