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Soldotna to renovate condo development rules

Timber Wolf development, other projects raise concerns

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In response to complaints about condominiums being built along the Sterling Highway voiced at the last Soldotna City Council meeting, the council will meet in a joint work session with the Planning and Zoning Commission this afternoon to discuss residential use in commercial districts.

A few residents expressed their objections to the Timber Wolf condos being built on the former site of the Timber Wolf Lodge between the highway and the Kenai River, saying the residential development would place too many people in too small an area.

City Manager Tom Boedeker, however, said the condos are being built in the city's commercial district and are permitted by city code. He also said he is aware of plans for other condo developments along the river nearby, and asked the council to discuss the issue and give city administration direction if it wants to develop an ordinance governing land use along that corridor.

The work session is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., prior to the regular council meeting at 6:30 p.m..

Boedeker said it is up to the council whether the public will be allowed to comment during the work session.

"If there's enough time, the council may allow public comment," he said.

If the council decides to go forward with an ordinance, the public would have an opportunity to comment at a future council meeting.

During tonight's council meeting council members are expected to discuss possibly entering into a partnership with the Kenai Peninsula Borough to share a scheduled 1 percent sales tax increase to help defray costs of repairing Kenai River fishing walk infrastructure destroyed by winter ice.

As proposed by Mayor Dave Carey, the city would request a 50-50 split of the increased taxes during the first quarter of 2008.

The council also is slated to review compensation to members of city boards, commissions and the council itself.

In a memo to the council, Carey said he would like to see council members' compensation go up to $250 per month from $50; Planning and Zoning Commission members' compensation go from $50 a month to $100; and Parks and Recreation members' compensation go from zero to $50.

Street improvements on Diane Lane cul-de-sac and Crow's Nest Court also are scheduled for consideration tonight.

Boedeker said property owners along Crow's Nest are not interested in paying for one-half the cost of paving the street. Property owners along Diane Lane are in favor, he said, but he is not sure the large expenditure is in the best interest of the city.

"I'm not going to recommend the city go forward (with Diane Lane), but I'm not going to sit there and say I'm opposed," Boedeker said.

"I think there are better places to spend the money," he said.

The two projects are being considered separately.

Also on tonight's agenda is the discussion of a strategy to hire a new city manager. Boedeker announced last year he plans to retire in August 2008.

"If they decide to hire someone who needs to move here and wants to come in the fall, I am flexible and would be willing to stay a little longer," he said, adding the council should begin forming a plan now.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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