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Kenai may get 5 lots for $7,000

Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kenai has found itself in the enviable position of possibly picking up five city lots for a song.

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
The city of Kenai is acquiring these properties through foreclosure along Peninsula Avenue in Old Town.

If the Kenai City Council gives its OK tonight, $7,299 would be appropriated to acquire the lots, which were foreclosed upon by the Kenai Peninsula Borough for unpaid property taxes.

The five adjacent lots are on Peninsula Avenue near South Willow Street and would be used by the city for a public purpose.

Several small rental residences, some of which are occupied, are on the lots.

City Manager Rick Koch said Tuesday, if the city does acquire the property through foreclosure, the city will work with the residents giving them ample time to relocate.

"The city intends to be flexible," Koch said. "Unless we find them to be unsuitable on inspection -- exposed, bare wiring or the floor falling in -- we won't be asking (the residents) to move out immediately."

Of the $7,299 owed in back taxes, $4,724 relates to borough taxes and the remaining $2,575 is for city of Kenai taxes and interest.

The last owner of record of the property was the First Baptist Church on Northern Lights Boulevard in Anchorage, according to the proposed Kenai ordinance up for approval.

In a memo to the council Koch said after the renters have vacated the premises, any improvements will be disposed of through a public sale or demolished.

The property could be used as a contractor staging area during construction of the Kenai River bluff erosion control project, and subsequently could be developed into a small municipal park, Koch said in the memo.

Also up for consideration during tonight's council meeting is an ordinance to amend the city code by requiring screening between residential and commercial use properties and by providing that property adjacent to residential zones should have access routing traffic away from residential streets, where possible.

Although screening already is required by code, Koch said this makes the screening requirement less broad. The ingress and egress requirements are not currently in code.

In language of the code amendment, access would be required from an arterial street, and developments might be required to create frontage roads.

The changes, if approved, would apply to Limited Commercial as well as Commercial zones.

To accommodate businesses adversely affected by recent changes to the city's Limited Commercial zone land use table, an ordinance on the council agenda tonight would allow legally non-conforming uses to expand their businesses.

Among the impacted businesses is Anthony's Transmission on the Kenai Spur Highway across from Thompson Park.

The business was operating with a conditional use permit and the zoning code would not permit expansion. Because the underlying zoning was changed, a hardship was placed on the business. If approved, the ordinance would provide relief.

The council also is being asked to approve a resolution approving the purchase of three police vehicles through state fleet contract pricing. If approved, the police department would purchase two Ford police cars and a Ford sport utility vehicle. One of the police cars would replace a police cruiser rammed by a suspect involved in a police chase in May.

Also on the agenda is a resolution declaring equipment, supplies and materials surplus and allowing for their sale by auction.

Among the items are several film cameras used by the police department and 30 bicycles either found, stolen or confiscated by police. The bikes are not registered.

The resolution also would allow for the sale of a four-story fire training building at 400 Marathon Road.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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



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