Borough, university vie for Kenai lands

Posted: Monday, May 22, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- The land selection process for the Kenai Peninsula Borough is likely to get more complicated, due to a bill passed by the Legislature.

The borough is due to select 44,000 acres to complete its entitlement from the state.

But under a land grant approved during its last session, the University of Alaska will also be choosing acreage from the same state holdings on the peninsula, said Bruce Talbot, project manager for the Alaska Division of Mining, Land and Water.

Senate Bill 7 entitles the university to select up to 260,000 acres of land from state holdings across Alaska.

The bill excludes land previously selected by the borough and it requires the university periodically to submit lists of proposed selections to the Legislature for approval. Once the university submits a list, the borough has 120 days to claim any parcel on it.

But while the borough requires just 44,000 acres to complete its entitlement, it already has proposed selections totaling nearly 100,000 acres, Talbot said. Meanwhile, the borough has indicated that it intends to relinquish some selections and add others.

''We anticipate in instances, like with the borough now, where they are way overselected, that the university may say, 'The borough cannot endlessly tie up land we're entitled to,''' Talbot said.

The Department of Natural Resources has a policy limiting a municipality's proposed land selections to its remaining entitlement, plus 10 percent.

The state has encouraged the borough to determine which land it most wants, Talbot said. Until the borough prioritizes its selections, he said, the state is reluctant to start the work on conveyances.

Borough Planning Director Robert Bright said the administration has brought the issue of land selections before the assembly several times. Bright expects the administration will recommend relinquishing some selections.

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