Housing, office complex plan moving ahead

Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Before a land deal with Lowe’s and a lease extension for Wal-Mart are considered by the Kenai City Council tonight, the group is expected to hear public presentations on topics ranging from water bills in the off-season to independent living for seniors.

James McConnell, a representative of the Palladin Group, is scheduled to give the council an update on plans for the Frontier Community Services administration building and Senior Connection’s independent living facility to be built near the Mommsen Subdivision.

In May, the council approved donating 25 acres of city-owned land for the combined projects. The land is bounded by California Avenue, Nightingale Street, Redoubt Avenue and Fourth Avenue. Some of the streets are not yet built.

According to City Manager Rick Koch, the development group has applied for a community development grant and other grant funding.

“They have more detailed information to present now,” Koch said Monday.

He also said he expects Randy Bostrom, owner of Kenai Recreational Vehicle Park, to appeal to the council for relief from a requirement to pay monthly water and sewer utility bills during the winter even though the RV park is closed.

Bostrom received a letter from the city last month saying he would be billed a monthly minimum of $83.95 during the off season.

Koch said the utility bill “actually has little to do with the cost of water,” explaining that most of the fee charged for city water and sewer service pays for fixed costs including personnel, plant and equipment needed to provide service.

Another Kenai resident who might address the council tonight is the owner of property in the recently rezoned portion of the Kenai Spur Highway near the Thompson Park Subdivision, who claims the change from commercial to limited commercial has impacted his ability to sell his land.

The council is expected to set a public hearing for the sale of nearly 15 acres in the Baron Park Subdivision to Lowe’s for a home improvement store.

Lowe’s has agreed to pay fair market value — $1,650,000 — for the land.

Wal-Mart, which is planning to build a 235,000-square-foot combination grocery and general merchandise store behind the Kenai Chrysler Center, has asked the city for a six-month extension on its already approved one-year lease.

The lease extension is being considered concurrently with a proposal to sell the 37 acres outright to Wal-Mart, according to Koch.

The council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., was moved to tonight instead of Wednesday because that is Alaska Day, a state holiday.

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

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