Neighbors working together is the way it should be

Planning and zoning issues can be tricky matters, particularly in a small town that's still growing. That's why it was particularly gratifying to hear last week about an issue in Soldotna that was resolved amicably between all parties involved.

At issue in the South Parkwood neighborhood is the growing number of daycare facilities being operated by the Soldotna Church of God. While there is a need for more daycare, Parkwood residents were concerned about the increase in traffic to their residential neighborhood, and filed an appeal of a permit issued for a third daycare.

This situation certainly could've gotten messy, pitting neighbors against each other. Instead, Soldotna Church of God Pastor Alan Humphries and Parkwood residents Drew and Linda O'Brien sat down in the O'Briens living room and worked out an arrangement that both addresses the O'Briens' concerns and allows the church to move forward with its daycare facility plans.

"We're neighbors, that's what neighbors do, theoretically," Humphries said during a recent Soldotna City Council meeting at which he presented the solution.

It's a good theory, and one that we'd like to see put into practice more often. Planning and zoning issues will continue to pop up around the central Kenai Peninsula as communities continue to develop. Change will happen, but a willingness to work together to address concerns -- in other words, being neighborly -- can make it manageable for everyone involved.

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