Condos on Soldotna agenda

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In an attempt to mitigate detrimental impacts of allowing unlimited residential development, such as condominiums, in Soldotna's commercial district, the city council will take a look at amending the city zoning code tonight.

One feature of Ordinance 2007-22 being introduced at this evening's council meeting is requiring a minimum front yard setback of 40 feet from the curb line or 20 feet from the property line, whichever is greater. Setbacks also would be required to the rear and at the sides of the residential development.

The proposed ordinance is in response to complaints received by the city from residents that one of the two-story condo buildings along the Sterling Highway at the former site of Timberwolf Lodge is being built too close to the road. Others complained that the condos will create crowding and safety issues in the center of town and tax the city's infrastructure including water and sewer services.

After hearing the complaints, the council met jointly with the Planning and Zoning Commission two weeks ago and suggested various means of mitigating the impacts.

A moratorium on residential development in the commercial district was considered briefly, but Councilman Scott McLane recommended the new setback requirements as a more expedient fix.

Also listed in Ord. 2007-22 is a stipulation that requires parking spaces shall not be allowed in the setback areas. Other criteria would need to be met if the residential development is to occur within the Kenai River Overlay District, which is designed to minimize impacts of residential use on the river's riparian habitat area.

"This does not create a new zone," said City Manager Tom Boedeker on Monday. "It establishes front yard setbacks of 40 feet from the road."

Most development in the overlay district requires a conditional use permit, looked at on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Reconvening the city's cemetery task force is also on the agenda tonight.

The city failed to come up with a suitable cemetery site last year and the task force was disbanded. At that time, only government-owned land was considered.

Now the city will ask the task force to consider privately-owned land as well.

The task force would consist of not more than 12 volunteers who would investigate possible properties and develop a plan and recommendation to be presented to the council.

"A number of the same people have expressed interest in serving again," Boedeker said. "It would be up to the mayor to appoint (the people)."

Because all bids received by the city for its planned airport expansion exceeded the engineer's estimate, the council is to consider appropriating an additional $662,127, making the total budget $3,600,116. The city would apply for $3,414,759 in Federal Aviation Administration and State Aviation grants.

The city council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. It will be preceded by a construction management meeting at 5:30.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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