The Kenai City Council breezed through its agenda last week with little controversy or debate.
Shorthanded, with Mayor John Williams, council member Pat Porter and City Manager Rick Ross absent, the council was led by vice mayor Linda Swarner. Finance Director Larry Semmens sat in for Ross.
The only item on the agenda that received much debate was the approval of the sale of a wedge-shaped sliver of land from a city-owned residential lot in Inlet Woods Subdivision.
The sale to adjacent lot owner Steve Robinson would give him enough setback between his shed and the property line to avoid more problems with the city. Currently, the shed is 1.6 feet from the line -- too close, according to city code.
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a variance for Robinson earlier this year to allow the lot line encroachment, but the city administration immediately announced it would appeal that decision. With the sale, the shed would be far enough from the property line to avoid an appeal.
The sliver of land the city is selling Robinson is 5-feet wide at the back of the lot, and tapers to 0 feet at the front of the lot where it meets Channel Way. The sale was originally designed to be about 3 1/2-feet wide the whole length of the property, but council member Joe Moore asked last month if it was possible to maintain the standard 80-foot wide frontage on the lot. The wedge design was then created. It totals about 300 square feet.
The city and Robinson agreed on $1.35 per square foot, for a total of $405 for the land.
The measure passed on a 4-1 vote, with council member Duane Bannock dissenting. During debate before the vote, Bannock said he saw no reason to force Robinson to buy more land.
Moore asked if Bannock would rather see Robinson go through the board of adjustment process instead, but Bannock said the city administration should have stood by the Planning and Zoning Commission's variance instead of appealing it.
"I will vote against this because I think the city appeal is a bad move," he said.
In other council news:
n Several minor changes were made to the personnel section of the municipal code. The changes, approved on a 5-0 vote, add communications personnel to those city employees whose probationary period upon hiring is a year, as well as better defining provisions for military leave of city employees. It also changes the titles of several employees, including librarian Ewa Jankowska, who will now be known as the library director;
n A contract in the amount of $96,444 was awarded to Wm. J. Nelson and Associates for design work on a fourth well-house for the city. A companion measure also was passed appropriating $6,444 to make up the difference between the contract and what was originally budgeted for the job;
n The inspection and building permit fees for the new public health center planned for Kenai were waived. Much of the public health clinic functions currently are conducted in the basement of city hall, and the city has been heavily involved in getting a new structure built;
n The livestock ordinance that the council kicked back to the Planning and Zoning Commission last month came back before the council for brief discussion, with a public hearing scheduled for the next council meeting. Despite having only four members present, the commission made a few changes to the ordinance at its June 28 meeting, including decreasing the proposed minimum lot size for keeping livestock to 1 1/4 acre. The commission originally proposed about a half acre, but the council settled on 1 1/2 acres before Moore had second thoughts. The 1 1/2 acre size would have barred livestock from about 90 percent of lots in the city. At 1 1/4 acre, about 88 percent of residential lots would not qualify for keeping livestock.
Planning and Zoning also added rabbits to the list of regulated livestock. If more than one is kept, they must be of the same gender, or one must be neutered. Except for the rabbits, the commission did not not address how many animals may be kept on a qualifying lot. A provision for obtaining a conditional use permit was added to allow variances in the regulation;
n Discussion was had on raising or removing the carport roof at the Kenai Senior Center. Snow building up under it has caused clearance problems for the new senior van, and city engineer Jack LaShot suggested removing the roof and installing ice melting to the cement drive. Center director Kelly Kelso said raising the roof may cause aesthetic problems and put her support behind the heated carport.
Council member Jim Bookey asked if the cost would be comparable for both options, and LaShot said they would be. Swarner said she liked the roof and didn't want to see it go, and suggested the administration look into both raising the roof and heating the pavement.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 19 at city hall.
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