Assembly to swear in 3 before addressing business

Posted: Monday, October 08, 2001

Swearing in three recently elected assembly members will kick off Tuesday's meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly.

Gary Superman of Nikiski will replace Mark Powell, who was appointed in May to fill the vacancy created when 14-year veteran Jack Brown left the assembly to become the director of the borough's Community and Economic Development Division. Superman is no stranger to the assembly, having represented Nikiski from 1989 until 1992.

Pete Sprague, a former Soldotna City Council member, began representing Soldotna on the assembly in 1998. On Tuesday, voters of his district re-elected him to that post.

Paul Fischer of Kasilof also is back for another term. Fischer served on the assembly from 1976 until 1982 and in the Alaska Senate from 1982 until 1992. He returned to the assembly in 1999 and was chosen by his constituents again last Tuesday.

The new terms officially begin Oct. 15, the Monday following certification of Tuesday's election results. Certification also is on Tuesday's agenda.

Other items coming before the assembly are "mostly procedural," according to Bill Popp of Kenai.

One that may draw some discussion is an ordinance seeking a $250,000 appropriation for Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council. Introduced by Popp, Tim Navarre of Kenai and Grace Merkes of Sterling, the funding would be used to:

n Provide a comprehensive public review of nontank vessel contingency plans of ships in Cook Inlet;

n Expand the mapping program to encompass all of Cook Inlet's shorelines and outer Kenai Penin-sula coast;

n Continue monitoring background levels of potential contaminants in Cook Inlet's intertidal and subtidal habitats; and

n Other related operation needs or opportunities.

Funding for CIRCAC was established under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. According to Joe Gallagher, public outreach coordinator for CIRCAC, federal law spells out the details of funding the organization.

"The limits are that we restrict ourselves to issues related to the crude oil industry in Cook Inlet," Gallagher said.

However, Gallagher added, more nontank vessels operate on Cook Inlet than crude oil tankers. Recent state legislation requires nontank vessels larger than 400 gross tons to have contingency plans.

Since no public agency has been charged with the review of those plans, the additional funding would enable CIRCAC to assume that responsibility.

This ordinance would provide a one-time shot in CIRCAC's financial arm, but Popp said the "issue was too important to let slide with regard to the health and safety of the waters of Cook Inlet."

Also on Tuesday's agenda is approval of rural residential local-option zoning for the borough-developed Russian Gap Subdivi-sion in Cooper Landing.

"(Pete) Sprague and I were the two original sponsors of local-option zoning," Popp said. "The whole point is to empower neighborhoods and communities to control what goes on in their communities when it comes to land-use issues and the character of neighborhoods."

Popp said input from the residents of Cooper Landing made it obvious they wanted the subdivision designated a residential neighborhood.

A resolution supporting the efforts of Cooper Landing senior citizens to provide senior housing for that community also is coming before the assembly, thanks to Ron Long of Seward.

The group has completed a feasibility study, selected a site, secured transportation and identified almost 50 individuals interested in living in the housing. They also have applied to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation under its Great Opportunities for Affordable Living program.

"Their efforts are a model of 'doing more with less' and they make everybody proud," Long said. "The AHFC grant for senior housing is part of a long quest, and I'm happy to help if even in a small way."

Borough assembly committee meetings begin at 1 p.m. at the Borough Building in Soldotna on Tuesday; the evening meeting convenes at 7.

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