Pace rezone axed

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011

The Soldotna City Council struck down the proposed rezone of Pace Street Wednesday night without voting.

The council chose not to even introduce the ordinance at all, as petitioner Clint Hall revoked his rezone application last week.

Hall had petitioned the city to rezone several lots on Pace Street from rural residential to limited commercial, a change that would have allowed businesses such as bars and restaurants to move into the subdivision populated almost entirely by homes.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-3 against the proposed rezone at a May 4 meeting. Pace Street residents, including Tim Cashman Jr., testified against the rezone, claiming it was not a good fit for their neighborhood.

"Planning and Zoning for some reason didn't approve it," Hall said.

Hall said he is not planning on pursuing the matter further.

"It seemed to me that it was kind of a waste of time to have it there," Cashman said, referring to the council agenda that included the ordinance. "But I appreciated the fact that they realized it wasn't a good decision and not to move it forward."

Soldotna City Planner Stephanie Queen explained that once a rezone petition is submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission, it is required the recommendation be forwarded to the council, even if it is just as a formality and the property owner has withdrawn the petition.

Queen said she has never seen the council go against the will of a property owner in such a situation, but it is legally possible for them to do so.

"I'm pleased with the process that Planning and Zoning used," said Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche. "They not only considered the (Envision 2030 Comprehensive Plan), but the rights of the residential homeowners and I'm pleased that the council supported their decision."

Micciche said it is often a careful balancing act, weighing the rights of residential homeowners with the objective of commercial expansion.

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