Subdivision road rules on tap

Borough Assembly members to consider new amendments

Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The proposed ordinance that would establish new rules for building subdivision roads will be back before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at its meeting tonight.

The assembly voted 5-4 on Jan. 8 to reconsider Ordinance 2007-33 (substitute), but postponed action until this week's meeting. A public hearing has been scheduled.

Currently, the ordinance would require subdividers with developments within 330 feet of a borough- or state-maintained road to build subdivision interior roads to borough gravel standards, as well connectors to the maintained roads, before a final plat was approved.

However, several new amendments have been proposed and may be taken up tonight.

In a Dec. 20 memo to the assembly, Mayor John Williams proposed eliminating provisions that would exempt subdivisions of five or fewer lots from the ordinance. He said the exemption was no longer necessary to make the ordinance economically viable or legally defensible. Other provisions allow for roads to be built in phases, so small subdividers won't have to bear the whole cost of road development immediately.

Another amendment proposed by the administration would make the effective date April 30, 2008.

On Jan. 10, Assemblywoman Milli Martin, a sponsor of the ordinance, proposed other amendments.

She recommended deleting certain bonding provisions from the ordinance and placing them in a Road Service Area policy. That section applies to cases where developers were not planning to construct all roads in new subdivisions prior to plat approval. Its provisions detailed how developers were to guarantee that those roads, when they were built, would be constructed to borough standards.

Martin's proposed amendment would delete a seven-page section of "guarantee requirements" and substitute a short section authorizing a RSA policy for subdivision agreement guarantees.

Another amendment, proposed by staff, recommended revising the definition of legal access to clarify that any public easement must be acceptable to the planning commission.

Among the issues that have been debated and revised over the course of several months of discussions surrounding the ordinance is the requirement that developers build access roads connecting new subdivisions to existing maintained roads also built to maintainable standards. Originally set at 660 feet, the distance was halved early on in the amendment process.

The borough has agreed to help build those roads where they are longer than 330 feet from a new subdivision.

Those and several more possible changes will be discussed at Tuesday's meeting. A final vote could be close, as assembly members have been divided over proposed revisions.

Three other ordinances are up for public hearings on Tuesday as well.

Ordinance 2007-41 would authorize the mayor to execute a new sublease and operating agreement with South Peninsula Hospital Inc.

Ordinance 2007-19-35 would accept and appropriate a $59,050 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that will be used to purchase firefighting equipment for the Bear Creek Fire Service Area.

Ordinance 2007-19-36 would appropriate $100,000 for changes to the borough's sales tax software necessary because the city of Seward has increased its tax cap from $500 to $1,000. The borough is responsible for collection of sales taxes.

According to Finance Director Craig Chapman, the changes will require contracting with software developers for the modifications to the program, revising various forms and databases, and testing and notification of the changes to all taxpayers.

Chapman also said the alterations to the system are unlikely to be completed by April when Seward plans on making the tax change effective. The administration has asked that Seward delay implementation until July 1, 2008 or Jan. 1, 2009.

Chapman said Monday that Seward officials were considering a delay.

Hal Spence can be reached at Borough Assembly members to consider new amendments

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