Are better roads ahead?

Borough ordinance would take step forward in improvements

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Revised subdivision road standards being considered by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly could be adopted tonight.

Those revisions would require that developers build subdivision roads that meet borough maintenance standards before final approval of the subdivision plat, and that new subdivisions have adequate access. Ordinance 2001-47 will lead to better borough roads, according to ordinance advocates.

"We have quite a situation in this borough with roads," ordinance sponsor assembly member Milli Martin of Diamond Ridge said Monday.

"It won't cure what exists, but I feel very strongly that it is time we addressed an issue the road maintenance department has to deal with on a regular basis and avoid these situations in the future."

The ordinance, first introduced in December, has been the subject of several public hearings held since early January. Input from those hearings has led to alterations of the text of the original ordinance. The assembly is expected to OK a substitute ordinance, hold a final public hearing and vote adoption up or down tonight.

Besides requiring that roads meet borough maintenance standards, the ordinance also would require developers to build access roads where any subdivision boundaries are less than 330 feet from a borough- or state-maintained road, and that all such access points must be constructed. That amendment is meant to provide an adequate number of entry and exit points to and from subdivisions in order to decrease traffic congestion and lower maintenance costs.

The proposed regulations would only require builders to construct roads for the phase of subdivision development submitted for final plat approval. The ordinance also includes certain exemptions and waivers.

For instance, a waiver of the new rules can be granted where topography, location, width of right of way and other unique conditions allow, or where lack of road construction would not have any ill affect on access.

Economic inconvenience or hardships are not considered valid reasons for a waiver, however.

The proposed rules also grant an exemption where there is no intersection with another borough- or state-maintained road within 7.5 miles of the proposed subdivision. This would exempt a recreational area such as the Caribou Hills from the ordinance.

Finally, the new rules clarify that the Road Service Area may grant exemptions from road construction regulations, but the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission is the authority that can grant exemptions to subdivision design standards.

It is possible that a vote on the measure may be postponed.

"I'm not sure," Martin said. "I want to hear what other assembly members say on that. I am very hopeful it will pass. It is something that needs to happen."

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