Airport plan doesn’t fly yet

Kenai council plans more discussion on leasing issues

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2006

A council member’s motion to adopt a new operational plan for the Kenai Municipal Airport did little more than open a public hearing on the measure Wednesday night. Any action was postponed until after at least one more public hearing.

Council member Linda Swarner moved to adopt an ordinance amending existing city codes on airport administration and operation, leasing of airport lands, leasing airport reserve lands and leasing and selling airport land outside the reserve.

Her motion effectively opened a scheduled public hearing on the proposed plan, and following comments from other council members and the public, the council postponed action until after the next Airport Commission meeting on the measure slated for Monday and another public hearing set for Sept. 6.

The Airport Commission, the city council and an engineering consultant have been working together on what is being called the Supplemental Airport Master Plan, first presented to the council in 2005.

Saying he was speaking for himself and not as a board member of the Kenai Economic Development Strategy (KEDS), Barry Eldridge questioned specifics of the plan, particularly as it applies to airport land leasing.

Eldridge questioned requiring potential lessees to provide business plans that specify the applicant’s source of capital and the number of customers the business expects to serve.

“I thought we agreed not to require the business plan,” Eldridge said.

He also said he believed the lessee’s site plan should include a landscaping plan, and questioned the proposed boundary for establishing the airport reserve.

Mayor Pat Porter informed Eldridge that the Airport Commission will meet on the boundaries proposed in the plan at 3 p.m. Monday.

Speaking on behalf of his client, the Salamatof Native Association, Kenai lawyer Blaine Gilman said certain enterprises such as the association would not be in a position to invest large sums in Kenai if they only were allowed to lease, rather than lease with an option to buy city-owned land.

“The consultant would have the city only lease, not sell any property,” Gilman said.

He said he wanted to thank the Airport Commission, adding that with the commission’s and the city administration’s recommendations, his client could proceed with its plan.

Salamatof is seeking approval to purchase six acres along Marathon Road to build a half-million-dollar office complex.

Council member Rick Ross said he would like city administration to provide maps outlining the proposed airport reserve boundaries at the next council meeting and said he would like to have a discussion as to why lessees need to provide proprietary business information that the city could not protect from becoming public information.

In other business, the council:

·Appropriated $250,000 for purchasing fire training props and equipment for the Alaska Regional Aircraft Fire Training Center;

·Tabled a residential street paving project on Shamrock Circle off Aliak Street;

·Authorized the city manager to negotiate a three- to seven-year lease with the Homer Electric Association for 3,800 square feet of office space on the second floor of the Pacific Rim Institute of Safety and Management (PRISM) training center;

·Approved an auction of obsolete city property including computer equipment, office furniture and some vehicles. The auction, which will be advertised to the public, is being considered for Sept. 16.

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