The state of Alaska Local Boundary Commission took care of some housekeeping items in a teleconference Wednesday, one pertaining to the city of Soldotna’s annexation petition.
The short meeting included waiving a requirement in code that adds an extra hurdle to submitting comments to the commission. Code requires anyone commenting via email or fax to follow up that comment with a written version of what they sent digitally, which must be mailed to the commission within 10 days. The commission regularly waives the requirement and did so for comments relating to Soldotna’s annexation petition, as well.
“And staff recognizes that this is rarely followed. And, so, we routinely suspend this regulation for all petitions. And so we’re just asking the commission to do that again today for the Soldotna annexation to make it easier for the public,” said Eileen Raese, staff member for the commission.
As it stands now, anyone wanting to comment on the city’s petition can email or fax their thoughts with no subsequent mail involved. Written comments are, of course, still accepted. The commission does still require that anyone submitting a comment to the state send a copy to the city.
Commission staff will review the comments and conduct a review and analysis of the city’s petition. They’ll publish a preliminary report, which kicks off another public comment period. Following that, staff will publish a final report and recommendation to the commission. Then the commission will hold a hearing, where the public will also be able to participate.
At the end of the meeting Wednesday, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce jumped on the phone and invited the commission to hold their hearing in Soldotna.
“The Kenai Peninsula welcomes you. If you choose to come down and hold meetings, we would be happy to host you here in the borough building. And lastly, I would just say that we will be following this issue very closely as your agenda on the items continues, meetings continue,” Pierce said.
Commission chair Lamar Cotton said the commission is planning to meet in Soldotna when the time comes, likely next fall.
"That’s our intent. I don’t know why we wouldn’t be there, it’s not a thing to save money on a plane, it’s just driving down there. So that’s our objective. Unless the roads are washed out, we intend to be there,” Cotton said.
This round of public comments on Soldotna’s annexation petition is due to the Local Boundary Commission office by 4:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Comments can be submitted by fax at 907-269-4563, email to LBC@alaska.gov and by mail to 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1640, in Anchorage.
Those addresses can be found in the public comment notice available on the annexation page on the city of Soldotna’s website.