Council to hear presentation on landscaping guidelines within city limits

Soldotna woman to defend urban trees

Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Soldotna woman who says she does not want to see her town clear cut by developers is slated to make a presentation to the city council tonight seeking to have the city revisit its landscaping standards.

Crista Hippchen, who lives at the end of Riverview Avenue, said a preliminary plat has been approved for the Legacy Estates Subdivision, and she does not want to see all the trees in the heavily wooded area cut down.

“The city code only says 15 percent of the existing vegetation must remain,” Hippchen said.

She would like to see the council enact a comprehensive landscaping ordinance for the city.

City Manager Tom Boedeker said on Monday, Hippchen already made a presentation to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“I think there are some concerns with what we have now,” Boedeker said. “It’s time to take another look.”

The council also is expected to hear from Lisa Hansen of Custom Seafoods.

The new packing building on the Kenai Spur Highway does not have a city sewer line running to it, according to Boedeker, and has some limits with the septic system at the new facility.

“They’re asking us to please consider extending sewer lines to them in our capital planning,” Boedeker said.

A third public hearing on a proposed change to the city’s code regulating free-standing signs in the commercial district is slated for tonight’s council meeting as well.

The proposed ordinance would change regulations regarding size, height and placement of signs.

Among the changes, freestanding signs would have a 20-foot height limit and a setback limitation of 20 feet from the curb. The current city code permits signs as high as 35 feet.

The council also is expected to consider appropriating $300,000 for cemetery planning, land acquisition and development.

Boedeker said the appropriation sets money aside in the event a suitable piece of property is located for development as a city cemetery.

Another set aside to be considered would establish a $1.25 million reserve account to offset the unfunded past service obligation in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).

Unlike the $1 million Soldotna previously paid against its PERS unfunded liability, the reserve account only sets the money aside for possible application to the unfunded liability, according to Boedeker.

Two street improvement projects tabled at the council’s Feb. 14 meeting — Diane Lane and Crow’s Nest — may be presented to the council by the city’s Public Works director for consideration as limited upgrades rather than taking the streets all the way from dirt roads to paved city streets with curbs and gutters.

If presented tonight, the project descriptions would come during a construction management meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The regular city council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek

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