Borough ignores valid concerns about subdivision; public will suffer
It was a sad day for this community, indeed, when a small group of our leaders at the borough avoided a critical opportunity to listen to the people. An opportunity that may never again present itself with such accuracy, timing and significance. An opportunity that was overshadowed by not only shortsightedness, but also our borough's willingness to permit development in a manner that imposes negative effects on existing neighborhoods.
For over a year, hundreds of residents in the K-Beach/West Poppy/Jones Stub area have contested the borough Planning Commission's interpretation of borough code, which allows a 112-home Hall subdivision, Zephyr Fields Estates, to inundate the inadequate and unsafe roads of our peaceful neighborhoods. Residents pointed out direct violations of code with the rubber-stamped plat and how those violations obviously created a street design with negative impacts on the community. The residents only asked that their lives not be turned upside down with unsafe through streets. At minimum they asked that connecting roads be offset, and traffic diffusion techniques be utilized to slow traffic between neighboring subdivisions; things that the Code would have incorporated on its own, if it were implemented in its simplest form.
But rather than working with the community and holding the developer to the standards of responsible development, the borough not only opposed the people, but they granted special exceptions and variances to the code violations in order to do so. The administration claimed that the code favors and developer over the needs of the community.
Isn't that reassuring? The contradictions and excuses contrived to justify their position became almost embarrassing.
So, while many people cried out for help from their borough leaders, those leaders only found every possible way to steamroll our community with this plat and its obvious problems. The result is a subdivision with blocks nearly a half-mile long, narrow half-streets, roads that extend into gravel pit excavations, roads ending without turnarounds, and through-streets that not only extend nearly a mile long, but that have the potential to funnel hundreds of residents on to one inadequate road while nearby collector roads sit unused.
What's disappointing is that the borough has spent a considerable amount of this community's money and time fighting the very same people that they serve. Even more borough resources may be needed to litigate in court.
To top it off, through months of appeals, mounds of records, and lists of signatures, the borough hasn't even met with the leaders of these neighborhoods to find common ground. Not once! Astounding! The public should be outraged!
Certainly our borough has not only failed to listen, but they have failed to recognize development trends throughout our country that, for good reason, discourage these types of plats and these self-serving interpretations of code. The results of this administration's actions will echo long in to the future.
God help our next generations who will have to clean up the mess ... all in the name of steamrolled development.
Dan Musgrove, Pat Price, Kristi Felchle, Laura Newman, Pam Swedberg, Soldotna
Will Alaskans soon hear about 'California Classic'?
Recently, while I was working outdoors I heard a real loud "YIPPEE!" It took me a moment, but then I recognized that collective euphoria vocalized by fishermen at the news of Bob Penney moving to California.
One can only hope "Uncle Bob" can be persuaded to take Tony Knowles, Dan Coffey and Ed Dersham along, too. Maybe they could start a "California Classic" so the Kenai could heal.
John McCombs, Ninilchik
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