The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has approved a local option zone designating a new subdivision in Cooper Landing as a rural-residential district.
Voting unanimously Sept. 3, the assembly established the zone in the Birch and Grouse Ridge Subdivision, a 318-acre parcel currently owned entirely by the borough.
The borough's local option zone ordinance provides property owners in rural districts an opportunity to petition the assembly for greater restrictions on land use than otherwise provided under the borough code. It can be employed to control building sites, placement and land uses, preserve open spaces and provide for consistence with the goals and objectives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Comprehensive Plan.
In the case of the Birch and Grouse Ridge Subdivision, however, the borough is the sole property owner.
The advantage of such zones, said assembly President Pete Sprague of Soldotna, is that it not only establishes and codifies desirable restrictions that are generally stronger than covenants, but also permits enforcement by the borough.
One regulation requested by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and added to the zone will require future residents to install bear-resistant garbage can enclosures for storage of trash on the property.
Fish and Game said the provision would help assure the future health of the brown bear population by minimizing the number of bears killed when property owners take action to protect life and property. According to borough land manager Paul Ostrander, defense of life and property mortalities among bears are on the rise in the Cooper Landing area.
"Imposing restriction on the storage of garbage within Birch and Grouse Ridge Subdivision through the local option zoning process will minimize the impact of the development on the number of bears killed," he said in a memo to the assembly.
The amendment passed 6-3.
In a separate ordinance, 2004-28, the assembly established the Grande View Heights One local option zoning district, designating the 57 acres a "single family-residential" zone. The R-1 zone is much like the rural-residential zone. Differences include shorter setback requirements, smaller allowable lot sizes and there is a building height restriction.
In both cases, the designations and restrictions would apply to any further replats of the two subdivisions.
Sprague said he was encouraged by the decision to use the 4-year-old local option zoning program, which is beginning to catch on.
"I'm glad to see more and more of this," Sprague said. "It is a good tool."
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