Kenai council talks bees, trees

Posted: Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bees and trees were up for discussion at Kenai's City Council meeting this week.

The council postponed a decision on a new animal control ordinance dealing with bees until it receives more work.

The council voted unanimously, save for Joe Moore who was absent, to send it back to the Planning and Zoning commission for further work after hearing public testimony supporting that idea.

Two residents of Kenai's Woodland Subdivision testified about bees in their neighborhood.

Jacqueline Graham said that her dog and a neighbor's child were stung by a bee last summer. And she didn't think that the ordinance could really prevent that in a neighborhood with small lots.

"Bees don't stay in their own yard," she said. "They fly all over."

Sarah Souders, a beekeeper, said the ordinance still had flaws. Some of the lines were too subjective, or didn't use the correct terminology, she said.

The council unanimously supported the idea of letting the commission revisit the ordinance.

Councilman Ryan Marquis said he liked the process so far and the collaboration between those affected and the policy-makers.

"She's providing expertise to the planning and zoning commission," he said.

Councilman Bob Molloy agreed, and said Souders had a point regarding the language issues in the proposed ordinance.

The council also voted to move ahead with a number of airport-related projects.

One ordinance it passed dealt with funding for an environmental assessment on a tree removal project at the airport.

City Manager Rick Koch said the process will look at the trees that the city already knows are problems and find any that they aren't aware of. At least some of the problem trees are on the southwest side of the runway, and are considered an aviation hazard.

The environmental assessment is required and provides a public process regarding the landscape changes.

Koch said that if there was an accident caused by trees, it would be a serious problem for the city, so the project needed to move forward.

According to the ordinance, the Federal Aviation Administration has indicated that the project will be eligible for funding from the FAA and the state's Department of Transportation.

The other airport ordinance increased the expected cost of an airport paving project. That passed without discussion.

In a memo, Airport Manager Mary Boudrant said that the FAA, which pays for 95 percent of the project, was OK with the change. The City of Kenai and the state each pay for half of the remaining costs.

The council also unanimously approved a resolution that created a new fee schedule for the City of Kenai, which was part of an ongoing code clean-up effort, and puts the fees for various licenses and other items into one document.

Molly Dischner can be reached at molly.dischner@peninsulaclarion.com.



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