Gated Communities ordinance postponed -- again

Mar 23, 2020

    The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly last week managed to amend the private streets and gated subdivision ordinance it has been contemplating for months now, but a final vote will have to wait another month, as it was postponed until April 21.

    The amendment would allow gated communities if they get permission from the fire and emergency services district that has jurisdiction, but it would exclude incorporated cities from the ordinance. That leaves the question of gated communities inside city limits will be left up to those cities.

    Before the ordinance comes back before the assembly, President Kelly Cooper asked for some more information from administration.

    “If the administration could have the information that we requested from regarding the number of people that are asking for this, the applications that had been received, and I would also like to see if there is a way we could clean this up, where the assembly can look at a document where all of it would flow together,” she said.

    James Baisden, the mayor’s chief of staff, reported to the assembly on behalf of the administration, saying the borough building remains open, but the public will see changes.

    “We've got a great, great group of people here. If you come in and have to do business with, with the borough, we're going to maintain services for you. It might take us a little bit because some of the changes we're going to probably implement to help protect the public and our employees,” he said. “So bear with us and we will make sure that we give you the service that you've always had.”

    In response to a question from Homer Assemblymember Willy Dunne about the June 30 deadline for a new contract with the borough’s unionized workers, Baisden said both sides are aware of the ticking clock, but have not met recently.

    “We're hoping here within the next week to get back together. And of course, yeah, we're, we understand the timeframe that we're under and of course, with budgets and everything that we're trying to put together and if it does throw some complexity into that,” Baisden said. “So I can't give you a better answer except for both sides are working on trying to get the timeframe together so we can get this thing accomplished.”

    Last week’s assembly meeting was the first to be sent out over Facebook Live, as an alternative to attending in person in an effort to maintain social distancing. Borough Information Officer Brenda Ahlberg read a comment made online by one of the viewers:

    “From Carrie Hanson, Kalifornski. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this meeting on Facebook Live. I like to be able to express my appreciation with hearts and my disappointment with frowny faces in real time. I also like being able to ask questions for clarification and to get quick responses from Brenda. I would love it if this medium would continue even after Covid-19 crisis is over,’” she said.   

    The April 7 assembly meeting has been cancelled, and the April 21 meeting, originally slated for Seward, will be held at the borough building in Soldotna instead.