Growing pains

Annexation on city council agenda

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The city of Soldotna wants to grow, but by just how much?

That question will be posed to Soldotna City Council members this evening as the city prepares to apply for permission to annex a residential area along Kalifornsky Beach Road near Skyline Drive.

"This is an internal question we need to answer before we apply for annexation," said City Manager Tom Boedeker on Monday, referring to the application the city must eventually submit to the Local Boundary Commission as a first step in the annexation process.

Because the proposed annexation area boundary along Frances Helen Avenue splits a subdivision leaving part of it outside the city, Boedeker said the council is being asked to consider moving the boundary to Clarence Drive.

That new area also has some peculiar divisions, according to Boedeker, who said the council also will be asked to consider annexing all the way out to Highcrest Avenue where Skyline begins climbing uphill.

"So far, no decision has been made to annex," he said.

Early this year, council members attended a work session on the annexation process. At that time, Boedeker said the annexation process, once begun, would take at least two years to complete.

Also on today's agenda will be a proposal to designate a recently annexed parcel as being in the city's limited commercial zone.

The 1.722-acre parcel on the Funny River side of the Kenai River at the end of Oehler Road, was approved for annexation Aug. 16. The proposed zoning matches that of adjacent parcels, according to Boedeker.

The council is slated to hear from Robert Ruffner, executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum, regarding a proposed lease arrangement allowing the organization to use the residential building in Soldotna Creek Park as its headquarters in exchange for making repairs and improvements to the building.

Known as the white house, the building has been unoccupied for two years. It was originally deeded to the city from the state Department of Transportation in the 1970s after serving as housing and the headquarters for DOT in Soldotna.

"The city has no suitable use for it," Boedeker said. "The watershed forum seems to be a compatible use."

Love In the Name of Christ representatives are to give the council a status report on plans for building a transitional housing shelter on Soldotna-owned property next to the Alaska State Troopers "E" Detachment headquarters on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

Love INC wants to build the Family Hope Center, a two-story transitional housing facility with 55 rooms on an eight-acre, triangular-shaped piece of city land.

Since the city withdrew support of a community block development grant application, the nonprofit organization has applied for other replacement grants to fund the project.

The city council has not yet agreed to lease the land to Love INC.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

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



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