The first stone was tossed into the rezone pond Wednesday night as the Kenai City Council took up a recommendation to change all airport reserve lands surrounding the airport from conservation to light industrial use.
The suggestion to rezone nearly 1,080 acres away from the relatively pristine classification to one allowing for some development came to the council by way of a motion of the city's Airport Commission.
The motion calls for rezoning all airport reserve lands north of the Kenai Spur Highway. Left out of consideration at this time is airport reserve land south of the highway.
Without getting into any debate over the recommendation, the council, on a motion from Councilman Barry Eldridge, forwarded the proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Councilman Bob Molloy said he is not in favor of rezoning all of the property.
Molloy also reported that a plat revision to designate land along Walker Lane as a buffer was pulled off the Planning and Zoning agenda pending resolution of some city administration questions.
On Thursday, City Manager Rick Koch said the plat revision request was submitted to the Kenai Peninsula Borough to re-establish the city land as a buffer zone, but the borough said the buffer zone notation on the official plat may not have been removed in 1984 as many believed.
"We can't find any documents to support that," Koch said, adding, until that is cleared up, the city has pulled its plat revision proposal.
"We're in the process of doing the analysis, and we hope to respond to the borough by next week," said City Attorney Cary Graves on Thursday.
Koch also informed the city council he would be coming to them with a request for some professional services in conjunction with a grant application for the Kenai Community Library expansion.
Because of some close deadline requirements of the Rasmuson Foundation, Koch said he plans to introduce an ordinance, have two readings of it and schedule a public hearing all during the March 5 council meeting.
He said the Rasmuson board, which meets only once a year, has reviewed the city's letter of inquiry for funding, and the city now needs to submit a Tier 2 proposal. The deadline for submission is April 1.
If the council unanimously approves the ordinance at its next meeting, Koch said he can meet the Rasmuson deadline. This year's Rasmuson board meeting will be in July.
Among the professional services needing the council's approval are engineering designs and formal drawings of the planned library expansion. Last fall, Kenai voters approved the issuance of municipal bonds to help fund the expansion, if needed.
In other business, the council set a public hearing for March 19 on a proposed special assessment district to pave city streets in the Thompson Park, Beaver Creek, Alaska, Mack, Valhalla Heights and Sunset Rim subdivisions.
March 19 is also the date set for public hearings on special assessment districts set up for street paving last year including Aliak Drive, McCollum Road and Japonski Avenue, as well as Set Net and Angler drives. Property owners will have an opportunity to speak on their final assessments for the street improvements.
Koch said homeowners should be pleased because the actual assessments are about 40 percent lower than the original estimates.
The council awarded a three-year lease to Copper River Seafoods for Kenai dock stations 2 and 3 and boat storage areas 2 and 3. Copper River's was the only bid received by the city. The dock stations will be leased for $41,000 a year and the boat storage areas will cost $1,001 per month.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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