Kenai residents need to look at the recently proposed 2012 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. In my neighborhood, the 50 or so single family houses and forest land along Beaver Loop have a new ‘Mixed Use’ designation that replaces ‘Rural Residential.’ If someone requests a rezone in order to open a car dealership, an apartment building or a store along Beaver Loop (all allowed under ‘Mixed Use’), the City’s decision will be guided by the new ‘Mixed Use’ designation. Residents are not being notified of this change.
The Comprehensive Plan contains many great ideas that I hope come to fruition. However, re-imagining rural and suburban neighborhoods as commercial and industrial areas is not one of them. During the public comment period leading up to the plan, residents clearly asked to keep their neighborhoods intact, and for the city to encourage a more contained and thriving downtown area. On Beaver Loop there are several small businesses that have been allowed through public hearings and zoning variances. There is no need to change the land use plan.
To see what is proposed for your neighborhood, look at the plan on the City of Kenai website (the map is on page 52). The comment period is brief – only until Oct. 19.