Soldotna to cover annexation, homeless shelter, sign regs

Council talks growing pains

Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An hour before the Soldotna City Council meets this evening, the city’s governing body will assemble for a work session to talk about stretching the city’s boundaries.

City Manager Tom Boedeker said earlier, the work session would be to introduce Planning and Zoning Commission annexation recommendations to the council and to outline the legal requirements involved with any annexation.

The areas being looked at include properties along Funny River Road from Spenard Builders Supply to the Soldotna airport; the Skyline Drive area at Kalifornsky Beach Road from behind Cook Inlet Academy to Slikok Creek; an area along the Sterling Highway from River and Sea Marine Supply up to Skyview High School; and a section between the city limits and Ridgeway Road from Pioneer Drive to Heath Street, just west of Mackey Lake Road.

Love INC, an umbrella organization serving a number of Christian churches on the Kenai Peninsula, is slated to give the council an update on its progress toward building a homeless shelter in Soldotna.

Love INC wants to build the Family Hope Center, a two-story transitional housing facility on an eight-acre, triangular-shaped piece of city-owned land next to the Alaska State Trooper “E” detachment post on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

The city has not yet taken action on deeding the property to Love INC. However, the city council in October approved a resolution authorizing a Community Development block grant application for the shelter.

If built, “the facility would accommodate single-parent families, intact families, single adults, people with disabilities and veterans,” Ingrid Edgerly, executive director of Love INC, said earlier.

“Everyone staying at the Family Hope Center ... will come through case management and will be housed there on a month-to-month basis,” she said.

The shelter will not be for women in crisis or teens alone.

Council members are expected to accept the resignation of council member Lisa Parker at tonight’s meeting.

Parker, who has been a city council member since 2002, said she is resigning because of job responsibilities at Agrium U.S. Inc. in Nikiski, where she is employed as a corporate relations representative.

The council would have up to 30 days to appoint a replacement to fill the remaining term of Parker’s council seat. She was elected to the three-year seat in 2005.

Mayor Dave Carey said, in the past, the procedure has been for the city to advertise for candidates for the council seat. People would have until Feb. 7 to apply, and the appointment of a replacement council member would be voted on at the Feb. 14 meeting.

A second public hearing on an ordinance amending the municipal code on freestanding signs in the commercial district is scheduled for tonight. Following the hearing, the council may vote on the ordinance.

Among proposed changes to the freestanding sign code are a 20-foot height limit and a setback limitation of 20 feet from the back of the curb. The current city code permits signs as high as 35 feet.

Many signs in Soldotna would not comply, and during the first public hearing Jan. 10, council members discussed the possibility of grandfathering in existing signs.

Boedeker has said if the city grandfathers in existing signs that do not comply, “what’s the point of changing at all?”

Freestanding signs would need to be brought into compliance by June 30, 2017, if the council approves the new ordinance.

The work session on annexation begins at 5:30 p.m. and the city council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek

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