Kenai residents will have a chance to comment on a city ordinance regarding dog kennel zoning changes at the Kenai City Council meeting tonight.
Marilyn Kebschull, Kenai's planning administrator, said the new ordinance clarifies the definition of commercial and non-commercial kennels and codifies a public process for new kennels within the community with procedures for notification and appeals.
Kenai Municipal Code requires residents with four or more dogs that are older than four months of age to have a kennel license.
According to the ordinance, a commercial kennel is for dogs that are owned, kept, boarded, bred or offered for sale and a private kennel is for those that are owned for non-commercial enjoyment.
The planning and zoning commission has been working on this ordinance since earlier this year after an issue arose regarding kennels in residential subdivisions in the past, she said.
According to Kebschull, the discussion on zoning code for dog kennels came about as a result of an incident a few years ago.
In 2007 a resident of the VIP subdivision built a housing structure for dogs that was not classified as a commercial kennel and therefore did not need a conditional use permit or require public notification of neighbors under city code.
The resident was issued a kennel license without any public comment.
"The process wasn't there and people weren't given an opportunity to participate in the process," Kebschull said.
Neighbors had no way to give their input on the nearby kennel or appeal the city's granted license, she said.
The individual ended up moving outside of Kenai but that still left the city with unresolved issues.
Since that time animal control and Kenai police worked together to develop an informal notification process where animal control officers go door to door to surrounding residents and ask if they oppose the city issuing a kennel license, according to a memo by Police Chief Gus Sandahl.
In the memo Sandahl said there has been no opposition from neighbors in the past year regarding nearby kennels. Four kennel licenses were issued total and all have been for private kennels.
The Kenai City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. tonight in the council chambers.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at email@example.com.
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