There's a new law on the books of the city of Kenai. It restricts the keeping of livestock from most subdivisions within the city limits.
After considerable debate and several revisions, the Kenai City Council Wednesday night finally settled on 40,000 square feet as the minimum lot size needed to keep livestock. That's down from the 1 1/4-acre size approved last month as the measure was being debated, but double the original size of 20,000 square feet. Forty-thousand square feet is just under one acre.
Lot size was a sticking point as the council debated the ordinance over the last two months. In June, council member Pat Porter said 20,000 square feet was too small and asked that 1 1/2 acres be substituted.
Other council members balked at that size, saying it would exclude most of the city. Then, 1 1/4 acres was approved, but when it was shown Wednesday night that very nearly as many city lots would be excluded as 1 1/2 acres, the council approved the 40,000-square-feet size on a 6-1 vote Wednesday.
Mayor John Williams cast the lone dissentng vote.
Planning and Zoning Commis-sion member Phil Bryson presented a worksheet to the council that detailed exactly how many lots would not be suitable for livestock keeping.
At the original size of 20,000 square feet -- just less than a half acre -- 65 percent of city lots would not qualify to keep livestock. At the proposed 1 1/2 and 1 1/4 acre sizes, 92 and 91 percent, respectively, would not qualify. At the settled-upon size of 40,000 square feet, 78 percent of the lots are not big enough to keep livestock, leaving 22 percent eligible.
By neighborhood, livestock are barred completely from the urban residential zones of downtown and suburban residential areas such as the Central Heights, Mommsen, Inlet Woods and Woodland subdivisions.
In the Redoubt Terrace, Inlet View and Bush Lanes area subdivisions, 99 percent of the lots do not qualify. In Thompson Park and Deepwood Park subdivisions, 98 percent do not qualify, while 94 percent in Valhalla Subdivision do not.
In the Evergreen-Forest Drive area, 88 percent of lots are unsuitable, while 74 percent of the lots in the Swires Road and Tinker Lane area do not qualify. In the First through Fifth avenues, Float Plane Road and portions of Forest Drive areas, 71 percent do not qualify.
More than half of the lots in the MAPS (Magic and Aliak avenues and Princess Street) area are available for keeping livestock, with only 47 percent of the lots too small for such purposes.
Meanwhile, in the VIP Subdivision and Beaver Loop area, 93 percent of the lots are large enough to qualify. All 32 lots in the 3W subdivision qualify to keep livestock.
The new law prohibits the keeping of a variety of animals, including cows, horses, American bison, llamas, alpacas, sheep, swine, goats, mules, donkeys, ratites (ostriches, emus and cassowaries), ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys and rabbits. No animals raised solely for their fur are allowed.
Any of these animals already on a nonqualifying lot may remain until they die or are disposed of. Though no new animals may be added to a lot with existing animals, offspring of those animals can remain until they are old enough to be separated from their mother. That will be determined by the animal owner and the city animal control officer in consultation with a veterinarian.
Another loophole for keeping animals on nonconforming lots is through a conditional-use permit, which can be granted by the animal control officer for such uses as 4-H Club projects. The fees for 4-H projects will be less than other zoning variance fees.
The city's new livestock ordinance goes into effect on Aug. 19.
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