An ordinance that would require the Kenai Peninsula Borough to investigate all complaints about gravel pit operations is scheduled for the second of two public hearings at the Tuesday borough assembly meeting at 7 p.m.
The ordinance, introduced at the Jan. 3 meeting, would revise the borough’s materials site code.
It would change the requirement that a complaining gravel pit neighbor prove pit operations had damaged their property, such as interrupting a water supply by disturbing the water table.
That burden of proof would be lifted from the complainant.
The new ordinance would simply require the borough’s planning department to investigate any and all complaints and “prove” them, if necessary, by taking enforcement action.
Among other things, the new ordinance would:
· Require a professionally prepared site plan.
· Add new standards for dust, noise and visual impacts.
· Add restrictions regarding the types and size of buffers and provides the planning commission with more flexibility in their use.
· Consider new reclamation provisions and enforcement measures.
· Add restrictions on how close operations may come to a lake, river, stream or wetlands.
· Limit the time of operations.
The assembly has been wrestling with ways to modernize its code dealing with material extraction operations. Gravel pits around Anchor Point have been the focus of controversy and have generated complaints from neighbors.
At the Feb. 7 meeting, the assembly put to rest another gravel pit revision measure, introduced early last year by assembly member Dan Chay of Kenai.
The main thrust of Chay’s ordinance would have been to alter the current code’s burden-of-proof provision to force gravel pit operators to demonstrate more or less conclusively that their operations would not impact the quality of quantity of an aquifer prior to obtaining a borough conditional land use permit.
The assembly rejected that approach by a 1-7 margin.
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