Mayor seeks work group: Group would look at river buffer zone ordinance

Posted: Monday, December 14, 2009

A 13-year-old borough ordinance designed to protect salmon rearing streams that's effectiveness has been called into question is likely going to be revisited as soon as the beginning of the new year.

At the Kenai River Special Management Area Advisory Board on Thursday, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey announced he was seeking members to join the 21.18 Working Group.

The name of the group refers to the borough ordinance its members will address: 21.18, "Anadromous Streams Habitat Protection."

The law went on the books to regulate development within a 50-foot buffer area adjacent to the main-stem Kenai River, 10 of its tributaries and 14 other salmon streams within the borough.

A recent study of the code showed it lacked both clarity and a strong back

Carey on Thursday said the working group will be established in mid-January to function in four six-month quadrants over the course of two years.

He said he chose the six month time frame to attract more participants.

"I want people to able to come and go as we're working on areas of their interest without them feeling that if I show up twice, that means I'm on it for two years," he said.

The first quadrant he said, will address "easy changes" that he doesn't expect to be contentious.

"We'll start with easy housekeeping, and then we'll take a couple of the larger things," he said.

"If we run into things where people say we really need to change that, but there's disagreement, we'll put that in phase two."

Carey said the issues tackled in the second and third quadrants will likely be defined by the members at that time.

Following each six-month timeframe, the group will determine what legislative changes they'd like to make and bring them before the appropriate bodies, Carey said.

In the final quadrant he said he wants the group to review the changes made over the previous 18-months and determine if further actions are required.

He expects the group to meet about once a month in the first six months, but said in the future that could change.

He said the group is open to anyone with an interest and he doesn't have a set size in mind, but expects 10 to 15.

Interested persons may contact him via e-mail at

Dante Petri can be reached at

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