Rezone an opportunity for growth in Kenai

Posted: Friday, April 03, 2009

The Kenai City Council on Wednesday voted in favor of rezoning land along the Kenai Spur Highway to Limited Commercial from Rural Residential 1, capping what has been a long and contentious process.

The new zoning regulations, which are intended to provide a transition from the city's residential neighborhoods to the commercial district, go into effect in 30 days.

While the change in zoning no doubt is disappointing to those in the adjacent neighborhood who have opposed it from the start, we feel the philosophy behind the change is a reasonable and appropriate path for the city to take. Limited Commercial zoning restrictions are adequate to prevent that stretch of highway from becoming an eyesore. Indeed, city code states that the Limited Commercial designation is intended to allow uses that do not materially detract from uses allowed in adjacent districts.

For example, the footprint of a commercial building can not exceed 3,000 square feet, meaning retail strip malls won't be popping up.

Contrary to popular belief, there is not a lot of room for commercial growth in other parts of the city. This rezone provides an opportunity to attract new businesses and new professionals to our community, something we see as positive, responsible growth.

Change is difficult, especially in a small town. We hope a work session on Limited Commercial zoning with the Planning and Zoning Commission, scheduled for Wednesday, will allay concerns residents may have about preserving the character of their neighborhood, and we look forward to watching as Kenai continues to be a vibrant place to live and work.

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