Kenai Peninsula Borough prepares for large land sale

Posted: Monday, May 15, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- Officials with the Kenai Peninsula Borough are making plans for what could be the biggest sale of borough land since the early 1980s.

Upward of 1,200 acres could go on the sales block soon, Borough Planning Director Robert Bright said. His staff is preparing proposals that would classify 80 acres south of Soldotna for residential development and 145 acres near Bridge Access Road for residential and commercial use.

If the assembly approves, then those parcels and several smaller ones already classified for development could be sold as early as this fall, said Borough Surveyor Max Best.

The borough also is preparing proposals to sell 120 acres at Cooper Landing and roughly 800 acres near Point Possession. But Best said those sales probably won't be ready this fall.

The last borough sales as large as the upcoming proposals were the 5,274-acre Gray Cliff subdivision in 1982 and the 7,560-acre Moose Point subdivision in 1984.

Best said 554 Gray Cliff and Moose Point lots now are in private hands and 54 are in foreclosure. The borough is trying to sell the remaining 237 lots.

Land sales were a major plank in Mayor Dale Bagley's election campaign last year.

''He's always been politically motivated to get land out of the government's hands and into the people's hands,'' Best said. ''He's going to stand by that.''

Bagley said his agreement when he visited Cooper Landing last winter was to put about 100 acres on the market there each year.

''We're going to stick to that,'' he said. ''You've been around me long enough to know I want to make land available.''

Assembly president Bill Popp of Kenai said he could not talk about the specifics of the land sale proposal yet because he hasn't seen it.

''I've always been a believer that we need sales of borough land to the public where it's feasible and prudent,'' he told the Peninsula Clarion. ''On the face of it, it sounds good to me. This needs assembly approval. Of course, we're going to give it very close scrutiny.''

Popp did say he would oppose any large borough land sale that could flood the market and depress prices. Other than that, it was a question of whether particular parcels are appropriate for sale and how they would be offered, he said.

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