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Borough adopts civil trespass and public record policies

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members, and Borough Mayor Peter Micciche (right) de
Jamie Diep
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members, and Borough Mayor Peter Micciche (right), discuss an ordinance about civil trespass at the assembly's April 16 meeting in Seward.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough has two new policies, one which allows the borough to issue civil trespass orders, and one which clarifies how public records can be accessed. The Borough Assembly approved both ordinances at its Tuesday meeting in Seward.

Borough Mayor Peter Micciche authored the ordinances, and says they were related to concerns about one resident who harassed employees at multiple borough offices and made unreasonable records requests. He says they were intended to target only the most extreme of circumstances.

In a Policies and Procedures Committee meeting earlier Tuesday, Borough Attorney Sean Kelley explained the mechanics of the bills.

“Currently, we do not have the tool under state law or under borough code to issue a civil trespass,” he said. “Or to issue any kind of long-term trespass, when an individual may severely disrupt borough business or become a threat to the security or safety of borough employees or members of the public that are in borough facilities.”

Kelly said the trespass order would be issued by the mayor or their designee if the issue occurred at the main borough office in Soldotna, or could be issued by the person in charge of a different borough building. He said a trespassed person would first receive a letter from the borough; if they broke the rules of that order, the borough would request an injunction from the court.

“Court issues an injunction, presumably, and then that injunction would set the parameters of what you’re prohibited from doing under the injunction,” Kelley said. “And then if that’s violated then could be a contempt of court, and it’s only once a court order is violated and becomes contempt of court that it could possibly go into criminal action or charges.”

The trespass order would last a maximum of 24 months, and officials would have to provide other ways for an individual to access borough services.

During the assembly meeting, Micciche reiterated his position that the policies should barely affect the vast majority of borough residents.

“I would assume out of the 60,882 people, 60,881 will never be affected by these changes,” he said. “And we hope that all 60,882 are ones that never experience us getting to the point where we feel access to our buildings should be restricted for a time.”

The assembly unanimously passed both ordinances. The policies will go into effect immediately.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.