Citizens sometimes accuse government at all levels of not involving them enough in the public process before decisions get made.
That's not a criticism that can be leveled at the Kenai Peninsula Borough as it begins work to update its comprehensive plan. Meetings began this week and continue next week to involve as many residents as possible in revamping the plan, which was last revised in 1992.
Residents should make the most of the opportunity that's being given them to help shape the borough's future which really means the future of all residents.
Far from being just another document that gathers dust on some bureaucrat's bookshelf, the comprehensive plan is designed to help guide borough decisions. In this case, the revised plan is intended to carry the borough forward through 2015.
This is an opportunity to let borough officials know what you think are the key issues in the coming decade and what should be done about them. Maybe you think it's time the borough take an active role in animal control. Maybe your issue is junked cars or gravel pits. Maybe you have an idea for resolving land-use conflicts. Maybe you think the borough should take a more active role in economic development. Or maybe you think economic development is outside the borough's scope of responsibility. Maybe you would like to see some existing borough services expanded or new attention placed on getting other services.
Whatever your particular issue, concern or suggestion, now is a good time to let it be known, because the comprehensive plan ultimately will reflect what residents think is important. That can't happen if residents don't participate in the process.
Not only is the borough offering plenty of meetings which residents can participate in, but it's also offering the opportunity for people to submit comments via the plan's Web site, by fax and by mail. The Web site at www.kpbcompplan.com offers a wealth of information about the purpose of the plan, the process to update the plan and how people can effectively participate. The existing comprehensive plan can be downloaded from this site. The Web site is updated regularly, and soon there will be summaries of the meetings that already have been held so residents can get a handle on what their neighbors consider important issues.
It's no small task to make a document relevant to 51,000 residents and the 25,600 square mile area which is the borough. The diversity of the landscape and the people who live here, as well as the mix of urban and rural lifestyles that give the borough its unique character, all present challenges to the development of the comprehensive plan. The more people who participate in the plan process, however, the better the plan will serve all citizens.
The following meetings have been scheduled next week to discuss the update to the comprehensive plan:
Ninilchik: Noon Monday at Ninilchik Senior Center;
North Peninsula Community Council: 7 p.m. Monday at Nikiski Senior Center;
Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce: Noon Tuesday at Sunrise Lodge;
Cooper Landing: 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Cooper Landing Community Hall;
Moose Pass: 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Moose Pass Community Hall;
Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council: 10 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, KPTMC Building, Kenai;
Kenai Chamber of Commerce: Noon Wednesday at Paradisos Restaurant, Kenai;
Clam Gulch-Kasilof: 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at Tustumena Elementary School;
Ninilchik: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ninilchik Senior Center;
Seldovia Chamber of Commerce: Noon Thursday;
Seldovia Village Tribe: 2 p.m. Thursday at Seldovia Tribal Offices;
Seldovia: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Seldovia Community Center.
The borough is actively seeking participating from all borough residents on this important document. We hope you'll say "yes" to their invitation to have a voice in shaping the future.
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