A decision from the Alaska Local Boundary Commission on the city of Soldotna’s petition to annex 2.63 square miles of surrounding territory is rescheduled for October.
The commission met for over eight hours Aug. 3 and 4 to hear public testimony and debate the city’s petition. Commissioners split on the city’s need to have control over neighboring areas, versus opposition from landowners not wanting to be annexed.
The most common annexation criticism in public testimony has been the city choosing the legislative review method, rather than putting the matter to a public vote.
Commissioner Lance Roberts motioned to amend the city’s petition to change it from legislative review to a public vote. The commission adjourned to allow for a legal review of Roberts’ proposal.
Jed Smith is a staff member for the Local Boundary Commission. He says Roberts’ proposal is a first.
“The commission has never converted a petition from legislative review to local action,” Smith said. “They’ve gone the other way — they’ve converted a local action petition to legislative review. So that’s why the assistant attorney general felt more comfortable if they could just take some time and do a more robust legal analysis on whether they are able to actually take that action or not.”
Smith anticipates the legal review being complete by the end of September. The commission plans to reconvene its meeting at 10 a.m. Oct. 20. As with the August meeting, this one will be held over Zoom conferencing. There will likely not be another opportunity for public comment on Soldotna’s petition at this meeting.