Bagley proposal would subdivide Point Possession

Mayor floats land sale plan

Posted: Sunday, August 06, 2000

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly ran out of time Tuesday before it could address the administration's proposal to subdivide 860 acres near Point Possession for eventual sale.

The subdivision proposal comes back at the assembly's Aug. 15 meeting in Soldotna.

The subdivision Mayor Dale Bagley put before the assembly Tuesday includes 22 lots, with the inland parcels of 25 to 84 acres each and parcels of roughly 10 acres each fronting the Cook Inlet bluffs.

His proposal is drawn from conceptual plans McLane Consul-ting Group drew in 1996 for the subdivision's roughly 8,521 acres the borough owns near Point Possession. The borough paid McLane Consul-ting $135,000 for the plans, but so far, the assembly has approved no subdivision or sale.

There has been much discussion about what to do with the land, though. The borough has received proposals to develop it for grazing and logging. A Florida man proposed developing it as a resort, and Nikiski residents have petitioned to open it for homesteading.

In October 1998, the assembly gave then-Mayor Mike Navarre a year to determine the potential for a land sale and to submit recommendations for a subdivision and sale.

During the 1999 borough mayoral campaign, Navarre recommended against selling the Point Possession land. He said there already are more than 950,000 acres of privately owned vacant land in the borough, including nearly 100,000 acres in North Kenai.

"Because of that, offering additional land might very well undermine land values," he said then.

The borough has a $5.3 million federal grant to extend the Kenai Spur Highway, but that is not enough to build the road all the way to Point Possession. Poor access limits what the borough could earn by selling the land, he said, and it has not adequately explored other possible uses for it.

Obviously, there is a different sentiment among 800 people who signed a petition asking the borough to open the land to homesteading, Bagley said during the campaign. He defeated Navarre in an October runoff election.

Bob Bright, Bagley's new planning director, said he would like to test the market by offering 22 lots from the southern end of the McLane conceptual plan.

"It's only 10 percent of the McLane proposal," he said. "That would give us a good sense of what the market might be. I don't think 22 lots would adversely impact the land market."

However, the assembly's midnight deadline for doing business arrived before it came to the Point Possession subdivision proposal.

In other action Tuesday, the assembly:

n Passed an ordinance to reduce the up-front cost for petitioners seeking to create special assessment districts to fund neighborhood road improvements. The new ordinance stipulates that the filing fee for road improvement assessment district proposals must be based on the cost of obtaining an engineer's estimate for the total project costs and costs of preparing the petition.

However, it requires the petition sponsor to pay a fee of just $1,000, and establishes a $50,000 fund from which the borough Road Service Area will pay the balance, as long as all costs the borough incurs to complete the project are assessed against the parcels that benefit from it.

Assembly president Bill Popp of Kenai said that in general, no more than 20 percent of the engineering fee would be spent before there is a commitment to proceed with a road improvement district. For example, if the fee is $10,000, at most, $2,000 would be spent beforehand.

"That's a 50-50 split between the petitioner and the service area," he said. "The borough's risk is pretty minimal considering what it could do for road conditions on the peninsula."

He said residents of two areas are now organizing road improvement districts.

n Passed an ordinance making borough property tax credits that previously were available to subsidize habitat protection and restoration projects along the Kenai River available to subsidize similar projects along a host of other Kenai Peninsula streams.

Projects eligible for tax credits include stairways, ladders, boardwalks and bridges meeting borough standards, spruce trees cabled to protect river banks, floating docks issued the necessary permits, projects that would prevent spilled fuel from reaching listed rivers, bank restoration or protection projects meeting government standards and removal of structures from borough streamside habitat protection zones.

n Heard testimony on the proposal for a Greater Kachemak Bay Fire and Emergency Service Area, which would collect property taxes to provide emergency services to unincorporated areas surrounding the city of Homer. The assembly amended the ordinance to place creation of the service area before voters on Oct. 3. The first service area board would be appointed and subsequent boards would be elected. The assembly plans another hearing Aug. 15.

n Rejected an ordinance that would have provided for appointment of members to elected seats on service area boards if no one files for election. Several assembly members expressed concern that the ordinance would prevent the election of write-in candidates in such cases. Assembly member Drew Scalzi called for reconsideration. The vote on whether to reconsider will be at the assembly's Aug. 15 meeting.

n Passed an ordinance accepting and appropriating a $5,000 state grant for the Bear Creek Fire Service Area.

n Postponed voting until Aug. 15 on a resolution supporting creation of a pig farm on Ohlson Mountain near Homer.

n Authorized creation of a new major capital projects administrator position within the Public Works Department. That position would have annual pay of $47,000 to $63,000 per year.

n Authorized upgrade of the grants coordinator position for the new Community and Economic Development Division to a grants manager. The grants coordinator was to be paid roughly $37,000 per year. The grants manager will be paid from $44,000 to $59,000 per year.

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