Change of campground to 'resort' raises concerns

Posted: Monday, May 12, 2003

The former Porters Campground, now called River Quest, is being replatted into a "premier exclusive resort." Much of this campground was underwater in 1995 and sections had an over flow just last fall. Haven't we learned anything from the problems with creating subdivisions in a flood zone? Here comes another Poachers Cove saga!

The state Department of Environmental Con-servation and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Department are bending the laws, regulations and policies to accommodate an out-of-state developer to make money at the detriment of longtime Alaska campsite residents and the health of the river. The river center has already fined this developer for the illegal and unpermitted removal of healthy trees that were once home to many eagles, owls and many other birds of the river! Variance after variance and exception after exception to our laws are being given away to allow this "premier exclusive resort" to sneak through the system.

The developer is being given the "grandfather rights" forever to the footprint areas, within 50 feet of the Kenai River, of the current tenant's temporary campsite structures that have been placed on the campsites. Those rights are not the developer's to inherit! Does the Kenai Peninsula Borough have this power to take from one taxpaying citizen and give to another? Is that near illegal taking the intent of the law under KPB Ordinance Section 21.18.090? I don't think so.

The developer believes he is offering spacious lots in a premier private resort and admits to offering it at "tremendous pricing." The developer even go so far as to compare the prices of the lots to those currently selling. The only problem is that the ones currently selling also come with real property. These people at River Quest already own their real property and pay the borough their private property taxes. When you take off the rose-colored glasses all he has to offer is some gravel, some historical flood lands and some footprints that by all accounts shouldn't belong to the developer. Buyers beware!

This issue and many others that the KPB and the state DEC have bent our rules on are going to be debated with public testimony before the planning commission at 7:30 tonight at the assembly chambers. The public is invited to testify and give opinions.

Ed Beddow, Soldotna

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