Challenges arise over Kenai's Rural Residential 1 proposed change

Apr 5, 2019

Plans to modify allowable uses in Rural Residential One neighborhoods in Kenai brought citizens out Wednesday night to decry what they see as a parade of conditional uses, variances, and general messing around with the mission of the city’s own comprehensive plan.

Ron Carlson is a resident of Princess Drive.

“I was hoping to be able to start up a gun smithing business from the house from a home shop. Understand the limitations that not wanting to create a bunch of traffic and, and whatnot and frankly I don't want to that either,” he said. “You know I want to keep a low profile and working out of my home probably a lot of them will be by appointment or jobs that I get through a website.”

Nobody had a problem with Carlson’s plan exactly. What was on the agenda was an ordinance that would change the city’s Land Use Table, allowing such activities as gun-smithing to be conducted as a conditional use in all R-R-1 zones.

However, resident Kelly Kelso spoke about the process the city and its residents used to come up with R-R-1’s allowable uses.

“I was with many other of Mr. Carlson's neighbors at the land use and zoning meetings about the R1, going painstakingly through. ‘Hospitals,’ are they permitted? No not a permitted use. Bed and breakfast? Yes. Gun-smithing? No. Taxidermy? No,” Kelso said. “So I'm very confused. And this isn't the first time this has happened where it seems like in the city, all that needs to happen is ‘I have an idea,’ and I come to one of you and I say, I’d really like to do this. I mean, that's what we've seen happen on Lawton Acres as well. Time and time again.”

Resident Greg Anderson said the neighborhoods should be for families.

“What's going to happen to these other areas? You know, this is just opening the door again to more and more businesses in these areas where people have their homes,” Anderson said. “You know, I want to see more families move into our neighborhood, not businesses. You know, there's already enough of that stuff. And that seems like there's enough other areas that that could be done. There's so much vacant area in this town.”

Bob Malloy, the council’s liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission, distributed a list of amendments to the proposed ordinance, but they were not addressed immediately and the ordinance with its public hearing was postponed until the council’s next meeting on April 17.